A Social Care Institute for Excellence report out yesterday has revealed serious gaps in the provision of advocacy support for African and Caribbean men in need of mental health services.
It calls for more advocacy support groups specifically aimed at men from these backgrounds.
A survey of organisations providing mental health advocacy with African and Caribbean men found that mainstream services frequently failed to engage this group, despite their over representation in the mental health system.
“Mainstream mental health services are simply not geared up to attract or support African and Caribbean men at present,” said Scie’s acting chief executive, Amanda Edwards. “As a result they are disempowered, poorly informed about choices and find it difficult to engage with mental health services.”
Conversely, services run by and for black and minority ethnic communities look at a much wider range of issues, such as race, social exclusion and disadvantage, as well as the person’s relationship with mental health services, said the report.
Scie wants to see a greater availability of advocates who share a cultural background with mental health service users. But it said this approach goes beyond the traditional definitions of advocacy and often falls outside of current funding arrangements.
The Department of Health last month announced £1 million for 40 new community engagement projects across England to build stronger links with BME communities and local mental health services, as part of its Delivering Race Equality programme.
‘Developing mental health advocacy with African and Caribbean men’ from www.scie.org.uk