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Mental health crisis services for black and minority ethnic people

Research over a number of decades has shown black and minority ethnic people are over-represented in crisis mental health services.  They are more likely to have been sectioned, more likely to have physical restraint used and less likely to access talking therapies over medication (Fernando, 2003; NACRO, 2014).

Crisis services are there to provide support through or resolution to a mental health crisis at short notice.  These services include Accident and Emergency departments (A&E), mental health hospitals, crisis teams and voluntary sector organisations.  The Police also play a role in mental health crises and can detain people using Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.  This report focuses on crisis services provided through A&E, mental health services and the Police.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) are conducting a national review of crisis services, and carried out inspections in several areas of England.  The Race Equality Foundation was commissioned by the CQC to conduct a series of interviews and focus groups with black and minority ethnic people, in specific areas, who had experience of crisis care.  These areas were: Ealing, Lambeth, Northampton, Sandwell and Southampton.

We produced reports for each area, which fed into the local inspections of crisis services.  This report brings out the common themes and experiences, while highlighting differences and good practice.

The report starts with a summary of what we found specific to the experience of being from a black and minority ethnic community.  This is followed by sections on information and expectations, what happens in crisis, the quality and availability of care, post-crisis care, and finally looks at issues beyond the mental health system that impact upon crisis care.

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Author(s): Samir Jeraj, Tara Shoham, and Farah Islam-Barratt
Publisher: Race Equality Foundation
Publication date: February 2014