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Speech by Lee Jasper on mental health

14/12/2005

LEE JASPER, chair of African and Caribbean Mental Health Commission, speaks at the One London One World conference on 7th December.

.

Thank you for inviting me to this important conference which is devoted to examining perspectives with a specific focus on BME Mental Health.

I would like to paint a picture of London today on the basis of what we know exists in terms of MH care and delivery, and discuss what services will look like in one or two years time if nothing changes and finally I will identify the horizon which has the capacity the bring about real change for Londoners who experience mental distress.

As you all know we have just finished sharing the results of National Census of Inpatients of MH facilities in England and Wales. I don&#39t know about you, but I am appalled at the figures that have been published today.

Lee Jasper
Lee Jasper: giving the facts

I know that some have said that it confirms what we suspected or already knew but I think for many BME and particularly African Caribbean people this has confirmed our very worst nightmares about the process of criminalisation and pathways into care. 

You know that the characteristic of institutionalised racism is one of outright denial?

We saw it in the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry as we campaigned years ago to bring justice in that area. We were told that there wasn&#39t a problem in terms of Black people being murdered on the streets of London.

I think these figures confirm once and for all that the MH service is an institutionally racist. The services that are used by the African Caribbean community are so overwhelmingly discriminatory that I think that they will be forever etched in the lexicon of language of the Black struggle as the day we really found out the extent of the racism that our people face within these institutions. 

commensurate

These facts are stark and unsettling and no body should leave today with any view that things are not that bad really. I state for the record that these are appalling statistics and the services that you work for will have to take a very long hard look at themselves in order to put together a commensurate response.

That response should not be more policies, more frameworks, more research, the response has to be one of political leadership from the top and a 365 day commitment to anti racism and driving down these figures.

Steel pan and samosa evenings in Black History Month won’t cut it as far as the disproportunality of these figures show you here today.  Please go away today as mortified as I am, I am feeling a little emotional about this – I am sorry if that means that I will be categorised as a very &#39sad and mad black man&#39.

But I am telling you very seriously that these figures are appallingly bad and give us an indication of the problem that we are facing. The facts of the report as you have already heard this morning show overall inpatients from African Caribbean patients are more than 33%-44% more likely to be detained under the 1983 MH Act compared with average figures.

I can&#39t understate the case – this compares with mental health services in a South African state under the apartheid regime – I can&#39t understand the massive over representation.

depressive

Look at the figures. It is not relative over representation it straight over representation. These figures go on to give us other insights men from African Caribbean and other Black groups have detention rates which are 25% -28% above the average.

Fact – referral rates from Black, African & Caribbean groups by their GP is 40%- 70% lower than average
Fact – referral rates from Black, African & Caribbean groups by the police is almost double that of white British groups
Fact – more than 70% of BME were just in 23 hospital facilities
Fact – the use of control and restraint is 30% higher amongst Black, African & Caribbean inpatients
Fact – seclusion rates are 50% higher for Black, African & Caribbean men

These figures are bad enough but when you overlay them with what you know about other facts in relation to mental health: It is estimated that approximately 1 million London residents aged 16 – 74 experience a common mental health problem.

Just under 200,000 people experienced a depressive episode at some time in 2003. 62% of those who experienced a common mental health problem were women and you heard from the speaker from Southall Black Sister about the issues there.

In addition 22,000 London residents experienced a psychotic disorder during 2003 – 0.05% of the population. 90% of people with mental health problems are cared for entirely in primary care settings which includes GP and the point was made earlier that this was not included in the census this year.

detained

I worry about what we will see come out of the Census in those areas but we must welcome the Census and I do welcome the Census the reporting rates and the compliance in terms of the questionnaire is very high indeed.

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Resources:

pdf The recruitment and retention of BME staff in the NHS

pdf Race Equality Foundation briefing: The impact of racism on health inequalities

pdf Race Equality Foundation briefing: Effective communication with service users

pdf Race Equality Foundation briefing: Improving the quality of palliative care

MIND: Rights Guides

pdf BME Needs Assessment: Diabetes and Hypertension

pdf Independent Inquiry into the death of David Bennett

pdf Draft Mental Health Bill

Links:

Nightingale Declaration

hyper GUIDE to the Mental Health Act.

MyHealthnet

Black People's Mental Health Association

Cancer Black Care

Black and Asian Therapists Online

African HIV Policy Network

National BME Mental health Network

The Afiya Trust

BMESpark

Fanon Care

The Federation

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