Mental health services for London’s ethnic minority communities are
failing to meet their needs, despite numerous government
initiatives to address the issue, a new report has found.
Services are particularly inaccessible to women and asylum seekers,
a situation compounded by staff being insufficiently equipped to
assess their specific needs, says the report by health think-tank
the King’s Fund.
The report indicates that health action zones and local
implementation schemes have created more opportunities for
partnership and consultation with ethnic minorities but that
services are still too slow to address inequality issues,
exacerbating mental illness in the capital.
It says women remain marginalised, and are often viewed
stereotypically such as “loud and difficult to manage” or having
problems that are rooted in “cultural conflict or practice”. The
needs of women with children are also not considered.
“Many women from ethnic minorities only access services at crisis
point. This is because of their experience of services as
inappropriate, their lack of confidence and trust in the service
and inadequate knowledge of what is available,” it says.
The report calls on primary care trusts to lead local action to
tackle inequality issues in mental health, and recommends more
gender-specific advocacy services be developed, greater
availability of interpreting and language services and improved
training and information about asylum seekers’ rights.
– Ethnic Diversity and Mental Health in London: Recent
Developments available from www.kingsfund.org.uk/