Hard-hitting report tackles ongoing health inequalities in mental health services

Published: Wednesday, April 5, 2023

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  • Report reveals deep-seated and continuing inequalities in mental health services faced by people from ethnic minorities
  • Black residents more likely to access services through the criminal justice system than through their GP
  • Wandsworth Director of Public Health urges local services and communities to take action to make the borough fairer

This year’s Annual Report of the Director of Public Health looks at the mental health inequalities faced by people from ethnic minorities in Wandsworth. 

The report, titled ‘Enough is Enough’, reveals that these groups continue to face profound inequalities in their ability to access mental health services, their experiences of them, and the subsequent outcomes.

It calls on local health services and all members of the Wandsworth community to work together to create meaningful change.

Evidence shows that, compared to those from White ethnic backgrounds, people from Black African and Black Caribbean groups are:

  • More likely to access mental health services through the criminal justice system than through their GP
  • Less likely to receive a referral to talking therapies than people from white ethnic backgrounds.
  • More likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act and be subject to community treatment orders
  • Twice as likely to have police involvement during inpatient admissions.

The report describes people’s experiences in their own words and explores five key themes, including the impact of socio-economic inequalities and the pandemic on mental health, cultural issues around mental health including stigma, racism in mental health services and how culturally-competent, community-based support could be delivered.

It also looks at some of the excellent work being done by local organisations, services and individuals to improve outcomes for ethnic minorities. The report calls for these to be supported to expand, grow and further evolve.

Councillor Graeme Henderson, Cabinet Member for Health and Chair of the Wandsworth Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “This is an impactful report that does not shy away from delivering some hard-hitting truths. It is a call to all of us to work together to create a fairer, more compassionate borough and deliver the changes that our ethnic minority communities need and deserve.”

Read the full report here