Delivering Race Equality
Delivering Race Equality (DRE) is a five-year government strategy aimed at tackling ethnic disparity within the mental health system. Diverse Minds was closely involved with the development of DRE, and we continue to work with representatives of the DRE programme. Find out more about our work in this area and how you can contribute here.
Mental Health Legislation
Over the past 3 years Diverse Minds has been campaigning for improvements to the Mental Health Act, in collaboration with the National Black and Minority Ethnic Mental Health Network.
Our main concerns were about the widening of the definition of mental illness, and the broadening of what is considered 'appropriate treatment', both of which effectively lower the threshold at which the Act's powers of compulsion could be implemented.
Given the disproportionate numbers of black and minority ethnic people already subject to compulsory treatment under the Mental Health Act, the likelihood is that greater numbers will be brought with in its scope.
There are also concerns around the introduction of community treatment orders (CTOs), which extend the powers of compulsory treatment beyond hospital into domestic settings. Again, the concern is that due to perceptions of race and dangerousness, professional caution will result in black and minority ethnic people being placed on CTOs where they might previously have fulfilled the criteria for discharge.
Though Diverse Minds and others were not successful in removing these aspects of the amended legislation, we did have some success in narrowing the definition of appropriate treatment, and in the limiting of CTOs to people who had previously been in-patients.
We also secured the right to advocacy for those subject to the Mental Health Act. Additionally, we secured a principle of equality within the codes of practice.
Diverse Minds is still working with many stakeholders to ensure that the needs of black and minority ethnic communities are prioritised during the implementation of the amended act.
Currently a significant area of Diverse Minds' work is Independent Mental Health Advocacy, the statutory advocacy provision included in the amended act.
We are concerned that IMHA does not reflect the range of advocacy provision across different ethnic groups. There are also concerns about the degree to which community-based advocacy services will be able to bid for IMHA contracts. Diverse Minds has been working closely with Department of Health representatives and others to address these issues.
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