Mental Health Plan Fails to Help Black People

David Brindle, Guardian (London), April 6, 2011

A five-year race equality action plan has made little impact on the disproportionate number of black people admitted to mental hospitals and subjected to compulsory treatment, an official survey has shown.

Black and mixed-race people remain far more likely than average to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals, to be detained under the Mental Health Act and to be confined in seclusion, according to the survey. The picture has “not altered materially” since 2005.

The findings will dismay campaigners who had hoped that the action plan, Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health, would bring a step-change in the treatment of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups in the mental health system, following a high-profile inquiry into the death in hospital of David “Rocky” Bennett, a Rastafarian.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said it was “inexcusable” that so little progress had been made in ensuring uniform mental health care for all, irrespective of racial background.

“It is unacceptable that people from some BME groups are six times as likely to be admitted to hospital,” Farmer said. “Such gross inequalities within the system cannot go on.”

The death of Bennett highlighted the issue of disproportionate and sometimes deficient care of black people in the mental health system. He died in a medium-secure unit in Norwich in 1998 after being held down on the floor for 28 minutes by at least four members of the nursing staff.

The subsequent inquiry made 22 recommendations, including one calling for acknowledgement of “the presence of institutional racism” in mental health services. The then Labour government declined to do so.

Alongside the action plan, launched in response to the Bennett case, the Department of Health ordered an annual census of patients to monitor progress. The new survey is the sixth and last such census, organised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) across 261 mental health care providers in both the NHS and independent sectors across England and Wales, covering almost 33,000 patients.

The exercise, carried out last year, found that people from BME backgrounds comprised 23% of all patients either in hospital or subject to community treatment orders. In 2005, the equivalent proportion had been 20%.

Rates of compulsory detention were between 25 and 38 percentage points higher for BME groups than for white British people, while use of seclusion was anything up to 99 percentage points higher.

The survey found also that use of mixed-sex wards remained widespread in mental hospitals last year. As many as 61% of male patients and 77% of women were not in a ward designated for single-sex use–a picture described by Mind as “alarming”.

Dame Jo Williams, CQC chair, said the findings did not necessarily show that BME patients’ needs were not being met. But they did suggest that the mental health system could not solve the problem of unequal treatment on its own. Other agencies, such as police and education authorities and the voluntary sector, needed to share the challenge.

“There is a need to move on from counting patients to understanding more about the factors that lead to hospital admission, such as ethnic differences in the rates of mental illness, the socio-economic and other disadvantages faced by some black and minority ethnic communities and the ways in which patients enter the care environment–for instance, patients from some ethnic groups are much more likely to be referred from the criminal justice system than are other groups,” Williams said.

Paul Burstow, care services minister, admitted: “Not enough progress has been made to address the over-representation of black and ethnic minorities in our mental health system.

This is a legacy that must act as a spur to redouble our efforts to tackle inequalities in mental health.”

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  • Question Diversity

    “Fails to help?” Seems to me that “helping black people” is precisely what is being done — Giving them mental health treatment when mental health issues present. It’s just that blacks are more likely than whites to have mental health issues, and some race politburo is mad at God.

    Now, if they deny mental health treatment to blacks in order to even out the race stats, then these same people will start whining that you’re not giving blacks the health care they need, “health care disparities” being the new catch phrase.

    Therefore, the “solution” will probably be to force more white people to be crazy, or to lower the bar on the definition of “crazy” so far downward for whites that more whites would be deemed “crazy” to even out the race stats.

  • Anonymous

    … following a high-profile inquiry into the death in hospital of David “Rocky” Bennett, a Rastafarian.

    Let me guess: the hospitalized Rastafarian died of acute THC withdrawal?

    Let me also guess: he was originally hospitalized over hysterical fantasies involving Haile Selassie?

    But seriously, folks: As I’ve said on here before, below a certain IQ level, “mental illness” and garden-variety stupidity, are often indistinguishable. IOW, many of these blacks clogging up Britain’s mental-health services aren’t so much “suitable cases for treatment” as plain old dim-witted oafs whose limited mental abilities cause them to make spectacularly bad decisions on a daily basis.

    Such individuals don’t need psychiatric assistance at the expense of the British taxpayer; they only need one-way plane tickets back to wherever it is they came from.

  • highduke

    Below a certain level Insanity, Autism & low-IQ stupidity are indistinguishable and part of the same condition that stands opposite to the ideals of any race/ethnicity other than the Africans, Australoids & Negritos.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing WE do will ever help black people! How long does it take for Whites to ever face that reality? How many hundreds of years does it take? Africans are Africans and always will be. End of story.

  • Anonymous

    This article assumes that large numbers of blacks in the U.K. is normal. It also claims the white men are to blame, either because of insufficient mental health programs for minorities or racist attitudes which cause non-white brains to malfunction. Both these assumptions are products of liberal dementia.

  • A. Windaus

    Three square meals a day and free rent for as long as you can fake being insane sounds a lot better than living in Africa or a Western ghetto.

  • Blue Willow

    Part of the problem could be inbreeding. Many of the Pakistanis in Britain marry their cousins and this leads to a lot of problems.

  • Michigan Patriot

    Being that ” self-destructive diversity ” is only celebrated in formerly white Christian republics; I thought that ” Whites ” were higher in mental illness not invading non-white alien parasites.

  • Gaston

    I’m curious how much the mental health systems in the countries they came from would have helped them.

  • Roy

    Despite reports like the above appearing in leftist rags like ‘The Guardian’ all the time, they still refuse to see it as evidence of the failure of their multiracial dream. Instead they just keep blaming everybody else in ever shriller voices.

    No one needs psychiatric help more desperately than white liberals.

  • Yorkshireman.

    This was posted on AMREN 20th May. “The World Health Organization estimates that one in three Somalis have suffered from some kind of mental illness, a rate that is among the highest in the world. Somalia is also among the worst places on earth to have a mental illness. Resources are so limited that many are simply chained up without medication. The country has just three psychiatrists at its main mental health facilities nationwide.” So living in UK is not the cause of mental illness… unless you are English White and driven crazy by all this stupid black and ethnic minority protected race nonsense. But we still admit them.. by the tens of thousands.

  • diversity = adversity

    Oh, here we go again with that phantom of “Institutional racism”. Why did he need to be held down again; was he being violent, perhaps? If blacks are more likely to be institutionalized is that a sign that they are mentally unstable? Oh wait, no, they are black so therefore it is “racist”.

    “Institutional racism” is a code used to cover up black deficiencies. The lefters just don’t like the fact that whites are not proportionately crazy compared to blacks. They believe that for every crazy black there’s a crazy white, for every 20 crazy black there should be crazy 20 crazy whites. When the numbers prove them wrong they cry “racist”.