Magazine article Public Finance

Race Inequality Persists in Mental Health

Magazine article Public Finance

Race Inequality Persists in Mental Health

Article excerpt

Black and ethnic minority patients continue to be over-represented on mental health wards, health inspectors said last week.

The Healthcare Commissions annual census of mental health in-patients revealed that some black and ethnic minority groups are three or more times more likely than average to be admitted to psychiatric wards.

Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker said she would like a dialogue with organisations that have high numbers of black and ethnic minority patients.

'With their knowledge, we can begin to look at the problems within the communities and bring together local agencies to tackle the issues that cause some black and minority ethnic groups to have higher rates of mental illness.

'We need to be looking at prevention and better access to services in the community, not just admission to hospital when people become seriously ill.'

The Count me in census is a joint initiative between the Healthcare Commission, the Mental Health Act Commission and the National Institute for Mental Health in England. It forms one of the strands of the government's plan to bring about race equality in mental health care.

Steve Shrubb, director of the NHS Confederation's Mental Health Network, said tackling race inequality in mental health was one of the biggest challenges facing service providers. …

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