Leading campaigner refuses OBE in protest of mental health bill

Leading mental health campaigner and academic Suman Fernando has refused an OBE unless the government makes key changes to its mental health bill.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Fernando, senior lecturer at the European Centre for the Study of Migration and Social Care and visiting professor at the department of social sciences at London Metropolitan University, said he found the offer of an OBE “puzzling” since the government had taken no notice of what he had said about improving mental healthcare for black and minority ethnic communities.

Fernando was offered the honour “for services to black and minority ethnic mental healthcare” but says the mental health bill would make things worse for BME communities.

He writes in the letter: “Although I appreciate this offer, I cannot possibly accept it while the government is pursuing its present policy regarding mental health legislation.”

Fernando suggests that at the very least the government should amend the bill to include a set of principles that will “oblige professionals to provide a fair and just system.”

Many campaigners believe the government has not carried out a full race equality impact assessment on the bill, which is currently making its way through the House of Commons

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