Government sets out plan for better mental health services for ethnic minorities

Health minister Rosie Winterton today launched guidance to help
primary care trusts deliver better mental health services for black
and ethnic minorities, writes Haroon

The new advice will also help trusts evaluate the impact of
mental health promotion within their local community, Winterton
told a meeting of mental health service providers in Bradford.

“We need to build a system that can deliver equality of
access”, Winterton said.
The report, commissioned by the National Institute for Mental
Health in England, highlights that people from ethnic minorities
have specific mental health needs.

For example, depression is the most common mental health problem
suffered by African Caribbean people in the UK yet the condition is
massively under-diagnosed in this community.

The south Asian community believes mental health services are
only for those with severe mental health problems and that there is
a real danger of being labelled and confined to institutions, warns
the report.

“This fear, lack of information, past negative experience
and lack of adequate provisions have led to mental health services
being inaccessible to the community.”

The guidance, Celebrating Our Cultures, will complement
the government’s forthcoming action plan on delivering race
equality, and their response to the independent inquiry on the
death of schizophrenic patient David Bennett.

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