Time for Change

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2012 National Black Members' Conference
21 September 2011

Time for Change

Conference, the thorny subject of mental health as experience by Black people, needs examination.

David Bennett died October 1988. Sir John Blofeld chair of the David Bennett, Independent Inquiry panel found that Institutional Racism exists within the Mental Health Services, in his report December 2005.

One of the key recommendations: Do not hold a person in prone restraint for more than three minutes, is yet to be implemented.

Dr Dele Oladije is a consultant psychiatrist who was examining the legacy of Delivering Race Equality. The typical experience of African Caribbeans’ in Mental Health Services, is that they are more likely to have been given a diagnosis of psychosis, admitted on section, with treatment reliant on pharmacological interventions. Restraint and management on psychiatric intensive care units are the norm.

The British Journal of Psychiatry has conducted a study utilizing data from the British Adult Morbidity Surveys which covered 1993, 2000, and 2007. Common mental disorders which includes depression and anxiety have not increased in recent years, however detention rates, under Section 136 Mental Health Act, has doubled for African Caribbean people in the U.K, whilst dropping for other groups.

Daniel Kajumba Archdeacon of Reigate since 2001 chairs the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns. Due to his personal commitment, there will be a special focus on mental health. NHS data illustrates that forced detention and medication of African Caribbean communities has doubled over the last five years. This is an issue of human rights and social justice.

The Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) on deaths in custody chaired by Lord Toby Harris. Their interim report shows that 60% of deaths in the case of the state are mental health service users. Their intention is that everyone with an interest in preventing deaths in custody, should have the opportunity to contribute to the work. Of IAPs remit. This covers deaths in prisons, police custody, residents in approved premises, and those detained under the Mental Health Act, in hospital.

It’s time for a change.

Conference instructs NBMC to work with the NEC to:

1.Support the call, prone restraint should be no longer than 3 minutes in any psychiatric setting.

2.Every unnatural death of a person detained under the Mental Health Act must be subject to a full criminal investigation.

3.The use of a police cells as a place of safety for anyone detained under the MHA must be phased out with immediate effect.

4.Have the David Bennett Inquiry recommendations implemented.

5.Work with UNISON Labour Link and BAMF to lobby parliament for a change in the law.

6.Raise this issue with the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

7.Engage in a campaign to publicise this to branches, regions and SOGs.

8.Liaise with Black Mental Health U.K and, BMH.UK the Solution Magazine, and NHS.