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Mental health trusts told to set out new race equity initiatives

Friday, 06 January 2023 Mind

New draft guidance from NHS England has called for mental health trusts to set out a number of new initiatives aimed at combatting systemic racism.

All providers will need to put together their own Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework by March 2024, including appointing a board member responsible for improving racial equity, as well as drawing up tailored plans to improve outcomes for people with mental health problems from racialised communities.

Responding to news of the draft guidance, Ariel Breaux Torres, Head of Race Equity at Mind, said:

“We support initiatives like this which look to undo some of the harm done by institutional racism in the NHS and wider mental health services, and proactively make the system a fairer, more equitable place for all. Disproportionate rates of sectioning and detentions have continued to rise for years on end, with Black people now nearly 5 times more likely to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act than white people and much more likely to be forcibly or chemically restrained against their will. Racism like this must be stamped out.

"Racism has no place in the mental health system. The expansion of tailored race frameworks is certainly a step in the right direction and we hope this ambition is replicated by the Government in further changes to the Mental Health Bill, currently undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny.  Mind has been vocal in calling for an end to Community Treatment Orders (CTOs), which Black people are now over 11 times more likely to be placed onto, and in many instances, can enable racist and coercive treatment.

“If we want to see meaningful progress and truly work towards eradicating racism, we need bold, ambitious policy that goes hand-in-hand with ample funding and culture change. The stakes are simply too high for any more inaction or delay – for too many people of colour with mental health problems and their loved ones, these changes are already too late.”

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