By Thomas L Blair 2 April 2018 ©

Petitioners at Downing Street, London
Petitioners at Downing Street, London

The social systems that expel Black kids, jail grown men and hospitalise distraught homemakers. The psychiatrists and clinicians who treat Black patients and inmates from outmoded texts. The media, too quick to blame and shame the Black mentally ill.  And, increasingly Government itself. All aggravate mental health inequalities in Britain.

Evidence shows the crisis has been building up for years. Un-kept promises. Non-delivery of resources for mental health care are reasons. But is only now they are starting to receive serious attention as Black campaigners step up their campaigns. It’s time to repair the faults, they say.

Fortunately, there are some signs that petitions, protests and community action has put race and mental health at the centre of the review of the Mental Health Act of 1983.

This outmoded and some say institutionally racist model has its consequences. Troubled Black people have bolstered demands for equal treatment and respect. Read on about the fundamental issues and solutions.

 “Those who feel it know it”. Couldn’t be more true.  Rising  rates of affliction and detention of Black people are out of step with a modern mental health care system.

The challenge for service users, carers, relevant professionals, and affected organisations is clear. They are responsible to the communities they serve. Their duty is to positively influence the review report of the Mental Health Act of 1983 due in the autumn.

Here are some of the key issues and remedial actions that campaigners of all stripes have in mind to hold policymakers to account.

Black Mental Health Activists stake claim for Change
Gathered at 10 Downing Street, the most reputable campaigners petitioned Government to end Mental Health Inequality In Britain. They advanced proposals to treat Britain’s ailing mental health system, according to Patrick Vernon,  social commentator and political activist.

Petitioners urged review chair, Psychiatrist and Professor Sir Simon Wessely, to answer his mandate from the Prime Minister:

To “explore why people from Black African and Caribbean communities are more highly represented among those subject to the Mental Health Act – and what might be done to address any discrepancies and reduce inequalities”.

Therefore Government, service providers and users, carers, professionals and wider stakeholders have taken urgent action. People with serious mental illness and their families need support to live well in the 21st Century.

Therefore, the review report should call on all parties to:

  • Improve access, experience and outcomes for Black African and Caribbean individuals,
  • Increase the funding of the Black voluntary mental health care sector
  • Campaign to make crisis care more compassionate and humane.

As activists mobilise to influence the Government review of Black Mental Health, the Chronicleworld checklists the key issues and crisis-changing strategies for action.

Your comments are welcome. To expand our discussion, read more here in  the  Black Mental Health Care series in the