10 Downing Street
Measures to end unequal mental health treatment kickstarted by PM
Prime Minister Theresa May hosts mental health and community leaders in Downing Street following independent review of Mental Health Act.
New measures to overhaul urgently mental health laws and end the unequal treatment faced by ethnic minority groups have been set out by Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday.
The government will take forward key recommendations from Sir Simon Wessely’s independent review of the Mental Health Act, which found black adults are approximately four times more likely than white adults to be detained under the Act.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that a White Paper will be published by DHSC and MoJ before the end of the year in response to the review. This will set out the steps necessary to provide greater dignity and better care for all those treated under the Mental Health Act, and to tackle inequalities in the mental health care system.
Healthcare bosses and senior members of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act attended a roundtable with the Prime Minister at Number 10 Downing Street this afternoon. They discussed the government’s plans for early action to reform mental health legislation and services to particularly benefit ethnic minority groups, which include:
- the first ever Race Equality Framework will ensure NHS mental healthcare providers work with their local communities to improve the ways in which patients access and experience treatment, and ensure data on equality of access is monitored at board level and acted on
- working with Black African and Caribbean community groups alongside others to develop a White Paper formally setting out a response to Sir Simon’s review
- further work towards eradicating the use of police cells as a place to detain people experiencing mental illness ahead of banning it in law, building on the Prime Minister’s work to end this practice for under-18s
- launching a pilot programme of culturally-sensitive advocates in partnership with local authorities and others, to identify how best to represent the mental health needs of ethnic minority groups
- a partnership between the Care Quality Commission and Equality and Human Rights Commission to review how they can use their regulatory powers to better support equality of access to mental health services
- an open call for research into how different ethnic minority groups experience mental health treatment and how this can be improved – to be launched later this year by the National Institute for Health Research
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