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Mental Health: Care Levels

Volume 693: debated on Monday 9 July 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, following the David Bennett case and subsequent inquiries, care levels for black and minority ethnic groups in mental health cases have now reached the average levels for the wider population.[HL4490]

In January 2005, the Government published Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Care (DRE), a comprehensive five-year action plan for improving services for black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, alongside their response to the independent inquiry into the death of David Bennett. DRE has been designed to encourage more appropriate and responsive care, stronger engagement of BME communities with local mental health services, and better use of information and evidence. Progress has been made but there is more to be done, and implementation remains a priority.

An important component of DRE is the annual “Count Me In” census of mental health inpatients undertaken by the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission. The results for 2005 and 2006 confirmed, among other things, that people from some BME groups are significantly more likely to be admitted to hospital and, in certain circumstances, more likely to be subject to compulsion in their treatment. The reasons underlying those results are complex and not yet fully understood; there is, for example, evidence suggesting a high incidence of severe mental illness among migrant populations globally and among BME groups in England specifically.