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REPORT: Improving Access to Mental Health Services for London’s Young and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Population

July 22, 2015

The Greater London Authority’s Health Committee has launched its report: ‘Healthy minds, healthy Londoners: Improving access to mental health services for London’s young and Black, Asian and minority ethnic population’.

Croydon BME Forum is delighted to have contributed to this report and welcome its recommendations.

The Health Committee is tasked with reviewing health and wellbeing across London, including progress against the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy, and work to tackle public health issues such as obesity and alcohol misuse. The Committee will consider the Mayor’s role as Chair of the new pan-London Health Board and the impact that recent health reforms are having on the capital, notably NHS reconfiguration and the decision to devolve public health responsibilities to local authorities. The following terms of reference were agreed by the Committee at its meeting on 3 September 2014:

  • To examine the challenges facing people in accessing mental health services in London; with a specific focus on young people and BAME individuals; and
  • To explore and make recommendations on how the Mayor might support improved access to mental health services, particularly for young people and BAME in London.

A key finding of the Committes review:

Many people in London suffer from problems with their mental health. These problems affect individuals’ quality of life, their ability to play an active part in their communities and to contribute to local and wider economies. Mental health is a particular issue for London’s young people and Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) communities. Yet the lack of reliable data on mental health makes it virtually impossible for providers to assess the scale of demand for services in London and direct resources appropriately.

Risq Animasaum, BME Community Development Worker for the Croydon BME Forum contributed to the review and highlighted the role of the voluntary sector in achieving better outcomes.  The report remarks that ‘The voluntary sector has an invaluable role to play in the delivery of mental health services’.

The reports concludes that:

Mental health must be a priority for government and the health sector. Stakeholders told us that many young and BME people in London are not receiving good quality mental health care. The Mayor has a role to play in promoting good mental health in London, and in reducing the inequalities that exist for young and BME service users. The London Health Board – which the Mayor chairs – needs to explicitly prioritise mental health and wellbeing.

Croydon BME Forum looks forward to joining partners to implement relevant recommendations of the report at the local level.

Click here to read the full Report.

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