Association of Mental Health Providers

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Joint Briefing on Race, Mental Health and Criminal Justice Published

A new joint briefing, ‘Race, mental health and criminal justice: moving forward’, from social justice charity, Nacro, Clinks, Association of Mental Health Providers and Mental Health Foundation as partners in the Mental Health Consortia, and the Race Equality Foundation has found that voluntary sector practitioners and service users from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are extremely concerned that too many people from BAME communities with mental health needs are in contact with the criminal justice system (CJS). The briefing also highlights that the current justice and mental health service workforces need more training to meet individual needs and to avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Association of Mental Health Providers Chief Executive, Kathy Roberts, commented:

“With people from BAME communities 40% more likely to access mental health services through the criminal justice system than their white-British counterparts, it is clear that not enough is being done to address this disproportionality. People in contact with the criminal justice system often come from backgrounds and circumstances that are complex and can find their mental health needs exacerbated by their experience. Although there is currently some excellent person-centred work in the voluntary and community sector, developing an improved range of services offers an opportunity to reduce cost, in monetary and human terms. 

“This is why a key recommendation in the report suggests commissioners and providers should liaise directly with service users and those with lived experience to understand how services should be designed to effectively engage people from BAME communities in mental health treatment. It is also essential that that both the criminal justice and mental health workforces receive additional and appropriate training to meet the individual needs of those suffering from mental ill-health and in contact with the criminal justice system.

“A ‘one-size fits all’ approach must be avoided and services designed to meet the needs of its users must be implemented to address the concerns and challenges raised by BAME communities in the provision of mental health support.”


For more information, please contact Dania Hanif, Policy and Communications Lead, on or call 020 7766 7496.


  1. The ‘Race, mental health and criminal justice system’ briefing and its recommendations builds on a programme of work undertaken by Nacro, Clinks, Association of Mental Health Providers and Mental Health Foundation as partners in the Mental Health Consortia, and Race Equality Foundation including:
  1. Association of Mental Health Providers leads the Mental Health Consortia in the Health and Wellbeing Alliance, formerly the Strategic Partnership Programme. The Association is the leading representative body for voluntary and community sector mental health organisations in England and Wales. A registered charity, we represent our membership of small, medium and large providers – from locally focused to regional and national organisations with the purpose of providing a professional platform on which the vital work of all our members can be seen and heard. We recognise that everyone can be affected by mental ill-health and we believe it is essential that the mental health voluntary and community sector works together for a whole-system approach to improve health and care in the UK.
  2. Nacro is a national social justice charity with more than 50 year’s experience of changing lives, building stronger communities and reducing crime. Nacro house, we educate, we support, we advise and we speak out for and with disadvantaged young people and adults.  We are passionate about changing lives. We never give up.
  3. Race Equality Foundation promotes race equality in social support and public services by exploring what is known about discrimination and disadvantage, developing and disseminating evidenced-based better practice to promote equality.
  4. Clinks is a voluntary sector membership body that supports the voluntary sector working with people in the Criminal Justice System and their families. Clinks promotes the invaluable work of voluntary organisations and has over 500 members across England and Wales.