A consultation involving 221 people – including service users and carers – has found that addressing racism is the number one priority to reduce ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness.
The findings, published by the Synergi Collaborative Centre to mark World Mental Health Day today, highlight the multiple forms of racism experienced by ethnic minority people, particularly in encounters with public institutions, such as health services and the criminal justice system, resulting in adverse care pathways.
The provision of wider social support, coping strategies and measures of positivity, (such as optimism and hope) was the second priority identified in the consultation.
Participants also highlighted the interplay of multiple layers of disadvantage and marginalisation in areas such as migration and the immigration system, religion, gender, sexuality and disability.
Professor Kam Bhui of Queen Mary University of London and Synergi’s Director, said: “After 50 years of these persistent inequalities, we need a different approach as we are not getting it right as a society. People still don’t understand the importance of tackling ethnic inequalities in a healthy society, nor the causes as we have not listened to people with lived experience.
“Noticing the life stories and biographies of the excluded is crucial to our understanding, and shows the real challenges ethnic minority people face. Meanwhile, there continues to be disparity and inequality, which raises questions about the lack of action to counter social injustice. Our work responds to a lack of literacy and motivation that is present in all sectors.”
Synergi embarked on the national priority setting consultation following evidence which suggests that Black Caribbean patients with psychosis are more likely to be coercively treated under the powers of the Mental Health Act than White patients, They are less likely to receive psychologically-based interventions. Also, Black patients are just over 50 per cent more likely to be prescribed injectable antipsychotic drugs than White patients.
The priorities will shape Synergi research, knowledge and engagement programme and will launch a national campaign in 2020.
The document is available here
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