Government aims to tackle racial disparities with mental health reforms


The government aims to tackle racial disparities and better meet the needs of people with learning disabilities by unveiling proposals for reforming mental health services.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) released the Mental Health Bill on Monday.

The government’s proposed reforms to the Mental Health Act include measures to address racial disparities in mental health services, the DHSC said.

This includes addressing the fact that a disproportionate number of people from black, Asian and ethnic minority communities are detained under the Mental Health Act.

The DHSC said work was underway to pilot enhanced, culturally-responsive advocacy services in four regions of England.

NHS England is also developing a race equality framework for patients and carers to provide mental health trusts with measures to improve the experience of care for people from ethnic minority communities, the DHSC said.

The reforms also aim to better meet the needs of people with learning disabilities as well as people with autism and ensure appropriate care for people with serious mental illness within the criminal justice system, he added.

This includes changing the law so that neither learning disabilities nor autism are considered reasons to detain someone for treatment.

Instead, people with a learning disability or people with autism will only be detained for treatment if a mental health issue is identified by clinicians, the DHSC said.

The bill will now be scrutinized by a select parliamentary committee before the government publishes a final version.

The government has also announced plans to fund mental health ambulances as part of its drive to improve services.

He pledged £150million in funding over the next three years to support people in crisis outside of A&E and improve patient safety in mental health units.

The department said on Monday that £7million would go to specialist mental health ambulances across the country.

The aim is to reduce the number of general ambulance calls by those having a mental health crisis and prevent the use of police vehicles to take people to hospital, the DHSC said.

The ministry also says the funding will be used to help local communities invest in alternatives to hospitalization for people in mental health crisis, such as voluntary sector-run “crisis houses” where they can access a treatment.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘We are investing more money to ensure that NHS patients receive the right services and support, so that people in mental health emergencies get the right care at the right time.

“Our reforms to the outdated Mental Health Act are another important step to better support people with serious mental health issues and give people greater control over their treatment, especially those from ethnic minorities who are detained. disproportionately under the law.”

NHS Mental Health Director Claire Murdoch said: “This is an important and welcome step towards much-needed reform of mental health law and I look forward to working with the government to develop a plan for implementing these changes.”