Association of Mental Health Providers

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Response to Race and Ethnic Disparities Commission Report

The Association believes the independent report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, published on 31 March 2021, provides a narrow view on disparities and injustices and does not acknowledge the suffering and discrimination faced by minorities communities in the UK. The last year alone has shown the effects of institutional racism on some communities and we know very well the interconnectedness of structural racism and mental health.

We know:

  • Black people are four times more likely than white people to be sectioned or detained under the Mental Health Act and ten times more likely to be discharged from hospital with the further restrictions.
  • Men and women from African-Caribbean communities in the UK have higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide risk, and are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • Black people are also more likely to be given psychoactive medication instead of a talking therapy.

These unequal experiences are a result of institutional racism.

Responding to the report, Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive, commented:

“We are deeply disappointed with and concerned by the failure of this report to acknowledge what people who use and need mental health services experience as the manifestations of structural racism in British society. It is this structural racism that both drives disproportionate poor mental health and mental illness in minoritised communities and unequal access to health and care services. Our members are clear that mental health policy and services premised on the principles of prevention and equality must recognise and seek to address this. Sadly, this report shows we still have a very long way to go.”

Several factors impact a person mental health and wellbeing – housing, education, employment, financial security, and racism. But we also know that racism plays its own role in all the other factors and to achieve equity and justice, we must do more to dismantle the systems that uphold racism.

Read the full report from the Commission here.