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Mental health plan slated

Afiya Trust voices concern over new government mental health plan.  

By Richard Sudan

The government announced a new strategy for the running of mental health services yesterday, called New Horizons.’ However the Afiya Trust is concerned that the initiative will not address the concerns of those from BME communities who often receive an inferior level of service.

Thestrategywas introduced in order to deal with systematic problems which affect the efficiency of mental health services. The Afiya Trust, a leading national BME health charity, is sceptical about whether the new government scheme will address these underlying inequalities.

Despite a consultation drawing on the expertise of 467 organisations, and 1100 individuals, Patrick Vernon, chief executive of the Afiya Trust (pictured above) feels there is room for further improvement.

“Placing public health and well being at the heart of social change in mental health and by making this a leadership issue across all government departments are welcome shifts”, he said.

“However the strategy still fails to address race inequality and institutional racism in mental health services in a robust way. BME communities face additional stigma and discrimination in terms of mental health and race and ethnicity, so this is a pressing concern.

“With the Delivering Race Equality (DRE) programme coming to an end, it is disappointing that New Horizons does not centrally address the need for sustained work in ensuring race equality is achieved in mental health care.

“It should have had a clear strategic action plan showing how it will tackle health and race inequalities in mental health services.”

It is clear that we must continue to campaign for a fair service to be given to all, particularly for those from BME communities who as it stands receive inferior treatment.

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