This sixth and final national census report, published today shows that there has been no improvement in the shocking differences in admission, detention or seclusion rate of black people who are detained under the Mental Health Act.
Although numbers of people who are entering the mental health system has fallen since 2005, there have been no improvements in the treatment and care of the UK’s African Caribbean communities who come in contact with the services.
Findings in this report, entitled ‘Count Me In 2010’, are a clear indication the failure of the services to meet the needs of ethnic minority who come in contact with the services and black patients in particular.
This report marks the final part of the five year strategy entitled Delivering Race Equality (DRE). DRE was launched in 2005 in response to the David Bennett Inquiry report into the death of an African Caribbean patient who died after he was restrained by five nurses.
The DRE programme was launched with a commitment to reduce the numbers of black people who are sectioned under the Mental Health Act. There was also a pledge to improve the support of community based services and a commitment to cut down on the reliance on the use of seclusion, control and restraint for this group and prevent the tragedy of the Bennett case from occurring again.
Black Mental Health UK say that efforts to address these inequalities need to be redoubled as this final publication comes just days after 29-year-old Kingsley Brown Burrell, a young African Caribbean man died after he was restrained while he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
‘The need to improve the treatment of black patients was recognised, through the DRE programme. The death of Kingsley Burrell Brown last week shows that improvements have not been made. There needs to be a redoubling of efforts and a commitment at the highest levels of government to see these inequalities addressed, because this is not a problem that will not go away by itself,’ Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said.
‘People are dying in our own institutions and it is wrong because it can be stopped. It is a tragedy that we have to say the same thing time and time again, and begs the question when will these injustices stop. This census calls for a total overhaul of the institutions themselves, we should not underestimate the urgency with which this needs to be addressed,’ Rev Paul Grey of I and I services said.
‘It is clear that the DRE has not had an impact on the experience of black people detained under the Mental Health Act, in fact the numbers in this census report are an indication that we have taken a step backwards.
We need a new strategy to address the persistent inequalities of ethnic minorities detained under the Mental Health Act. There needs to be a national director for Mental Health and ethnicity that is responsible for developing and implementing a mental health strategy for ethnic inequalities at a department level,’ Professor Sashi Sashidarand consultant psychiatrist and panel member on the David Bennett Inquiry said.
‘This census report is most disappointing; it shows we need an ever greater to commitment in this area and a real programme of change. The death of yet another young man, just last week shows us that time is of the essence here. The injustices that we are seeing in the system should not be allowed to continue to prevail,’ Archdeacon Daniel Kajumba, Chair of committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns