Delivering Race Equality 'did not fully deliver', claims thinktank
Posted Monday 9 May 2011
A new report published today by the thinktank RawOrg (Rights and Wellbeing of Racialised Groups), reveals that staff and service users from racialised groups feel let down by the Government’s Delivering Race Equality (DRE) strategy.
As the five-year strategy aimed at addressing ethnic inequalities in the mental health system came to an end earlier this year, RawOrg sought to reflect on the successes and shortfalls of the DRE strategy by gathering the views of service users and key players involved in its implementation.
Interviews with Community Development Workers (CDWs), the staff on the ground responsible for delivering the strategy, uncovered the following themes:
- The general profile of BME mental health has increased and there is an aptitude for change but enthusiasm is not always met with action.
- Pockets of resistance still exist in services and race issues are seen as peripheral by some. Efforts must be made to make it part of the core business of all mental health services.
- There is increased awareness of mental health problems within minority ethnic communities and improvements to the flow of information between communities and mental health services. However, blame is often still laid at the doors of BME communities for not engaging with primary care services.
- A lack of clarity about the goals of DRE, the role of CDWs or any clear performance indictors means success has been difficult to measure.
- There was limited funding and resources to implement the required changes and frustration at the slow pace of change but CDWs are optimistic that given more time and support their work will achieve the impact originally envisaged.
- There must be a continued focus on directly and explicitly addressing race as a driver of inequality in mental health.
RawOrg’s survey of service users and carers from racialised groups revealed:
- A general lack of awareness of the DRE strategy among service users
- A need for training for mental health staff on how best to engage with people from diverse ethnic communities.
- A lack of awareness of mental health issues within diverse ethnic communities, and significant stigma attached to experiencing mental distress.
- A need for greater support for community groups and empowerment of service users and survivors to both influence and provide services.
- Better engagement with faith groups and leaders as a means of disseminating information about mental health issues and services.
- Service users did not perceive substantial progress and had not experienced the types of services DRE was expected to foster
Diverse Minds manager Mind, Marcel Vige said:
Community Development Workers have done some remarkable work over the last few years, particularly at a local level engaging diverse communities with mental health services.
However, on reflection it appears CDWs were given an impossible brief to achieve radical institutional change in a very short space of time. It was inevitable that their success would be limited but given the right support more could have been achieved.
The goals outlined by the DRE have not been realised but valuable lessons have been learnt. It’s vital that the Government’s new mental health strategy makes addressing racial inequalities in the mental health system a priority and that budget cuts and NHS reforms do not hamper this aim.
- RawOrg is a collection of service users, campaigners, professionals and academics dedicated to ending racial inequality throughout the mental health system. We do this by facilitating understanding of the various factors that drive and maintain such inequality. We also support practical action genuinely geared towards ending this longstanding form of injustice.
- The end of delivering race equality? is based on interviews with 12 Community Development Workers and 28 service users.
- For more information please contact the Mind media team:
T: 020 8522 1743
M: 07850 788514
e: Mind Media team
ISDN: 020 8221 0817