Mental Health debate

I rose at 3.35 pm


I want to focus on attitudes towards, and the prevalence of, mental health problems among young black men, which I believe is important. Although the prevalence of mental health conditions among young people is often discussed in Parliament, it is less often discussed in the House in terms of race. Black men in Britain are 17 times more likely than their white counterparts to be diagnosed with a psychotic illness. Studies carried out in 2014 in Lambeth, an area with a black population of 26%—the largest in the country—found that 70% of the borough’s residents in secure psychiatric settings are of African or Caribbean origin.

The majority of people enter the mental health services via primary care, but young black African people are more likely to enter via the court or the police. According to a report by Mind in 2013, in a survey of black people’s experiences of the mental health services, 46% had been restrained by mental health staff. Of those, 79% thought that restraint was aggressive, and 34% had been physically injured.

We must listen to and act on reports such as that of Healthwatch Enfield, which surveyed 77 people in the community. The majority of those were young people and their parents, and they found—among many conclusions—that there were cultural, language and access barriers to services for black and minority ethnic communities. That needs to be considered by the Government. We need a comprehensive investment in mental health that takes racial differences into account. That will be one step forward to ensuring that we have an adequate service that helps all those in this country who suffer with mental health issues.

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Kate Osamor MP

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