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Better practice in mental health for black and minority ethnic communities

Evidence shows that black and minority ethnic communities have significantly poorer mental health outcomes and poorer experience of services. For some individuals, limited knowledge of available support and the ways to access it allows mental health problems to become more entrenched and difficult to cope with.

The Race Equality Foundation and Mental Health Providers Forum set out to find examples of best practice in mental health for black and minority ethnic communities in order to influence the process of change. We found there are many organisations and projects promoting and tackling issues around mental health in black and minority ethnic communities. They adopt a broad variety of approaches in how they work and who they work with, negotiating relationships with statutory providers and filling gaps where services fail to address the needs of minority ethnic communities.They use their knowledge to develop services that are culturally appropriate, responsive to need and which tackle the issues affecting their communities.

However, many organisations face challenges in meeting the sheer level of need. The relationship with funders is often the most challenging issue for these organisations – for many, a lack of secure and stable funding is a real barrier to maintaining services. Many organisations also struggle to comply with the requirements set by funders around monitoring and evaluation, despite having established reputations for providing good services. For many groups, ‘survival’ is their greatest concern.

It is the aim of this report to encourage funders and the statutory sector to address the challenges faced by voluntary and community sector organisations working with black and minority ethnic communities and to highlight some of the lessons that can be learned from their work around mental health.

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Author(s): Jabeer Butt, Samir Jeraj, Kat Clayton, Rebecca Neale, Zoe Gardner, Kathy Roberts, Katja Huijbers, Annie Whelan, Farah Islam-Barret, Grace Wong
Publisher: Race Equality Foundation
Publication date: May 2015