New services plan for ethnic minorities

An ambitious draft framework to improve mental health services for
ethnic minorities over the next 10 years has been published by the
Department of Health.

It is hoped that the consultation will produce services that better
reflect “the needs and aspirations” of service users from these

Among the aims are more effective treatment, reduced fear of mental
health services and a greater readiness among people from ethnic
minorities to engage with services.

“The pathways to care of black and minority ethnic users will thus
realign with the majority population, with fewer entering services
compulsorily and/or via the criminal justice system,” the document

It outlines what those planning, delivering and monitoring local
primary care and mental health services must do to remedy the
current situation which, it says, is “unacceptable and

It recommends that patients’ ethnicity is recorded and that the
workforce is made representative of the community it serves.

The chief executive of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, Matt
Muijen, welcomed the strategy. He said: “Black people fear seeking
help with mental health problems because they are still far more
likely than others to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, to be
treated compulsorily and to be taken to hospital by the

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