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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commented 2015-12-27 12:27:58 +0000
The mental health service, through my experience as the NOK of such a victim for the last five years, has proven surprisingly inadequate to various degrees, consequently putting unjustifiable strain on not only families but also on the other supporting services.
It is unbelievable to the blissfully unaware average person, general healthcare professional or ‘person on the street’, that within Mental Health Services there is a systematic indifference and dismissive attitude toward the inadequacies and failings of Mental Healthcare and Social service’s procedures. So often the tick-box, “we know best” approach that rejects common-sense, results in a despicable, damaging vicious circle for the victims. This circle very sadly, naturally becomes a downward spiral. So called professionals more concerned with accountability than care will shrug their shoulders and say that is the way it is and there is nothing you or they can do about it.
This narrow minded attitude within and toward the mental health service is inevitably and actually costing the NHS, the police and ambulance service far more than the inflexible resource saving rules in place are intended to save.
This society that considers itself so sophisticated actually has fear of mental health issues and consequently sweeps it under the carpet and pretends everything is okay and being looked after. An education and realisation of the capacity, traits and weaknesses of everybody’s minds, (none are immune) is missing and sorely vital to move forward. This is I know, more than a modest undertaking as is also the cost of tackling the ironic situation that far too many professional carers don’t actually care. My perception is these fundamental faults lead to complications and such statistics described above.
Can everyone of us though rise to the challenge of empathising and understanding mental illness, according to our capacity, and not only make a difference but confidently make this shameful situation right.

Kate Osamor MP

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