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Black men risk restraint under new Act

The Mental Health Act, which has now been given Royal Assent and become law continues to attract criticism from those concerned about the overinstitutionalisation of black men.

Lee Jasper chair of the African Caribbean Mental Health Commission said 'I think this will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of Black men who find themselves sectioned under the Mental Health Act as this new law allows many more health professionals to authorise forced detention. This adds up to licensed discrimination under mental health service provision,'.

The fear is based on the fact that African Caribbean's are 44% more likely to be sectioned, 29% more likely to be forcibly restrained, 50% more likely to be placed in seclusion and make up 30% of in patients on medium secure psychiatric wards despite having similar rates of mental illness as British white people.

Kwame McKenzie who is Professor of Mental Health and Society at the University of Central Lancashire and Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at University College London said: 'It's a sad day for mental health in the UK especially from the BME view. It was clear from the advice from the Commission for Racial Equality and the Race Equality Impact Assessment Steering group that this Act will be discriminatory. My worry is that it will drive a further wedge between MH services and black communities as the fear of forced treatment will keep people away from the services and so make the mental health of the Black community worse.'

Areas of concern are the introduction of CTOs (Community Treatment Orders), which will allow patients to be forcibly treated within in their own homes; the lack of a statutory right to advocacy until after detention; and the widening of the numbers of professionals who can decide on who to put on CTOs.

Page created on July 24th, 2007

Page updated on December 1st, 2009