Race Equality Foundation Response to the King’s Speech

Published On: 7 November 2023Tags: , , ,

The Race Equality Foundation is hugely disappointed that the first King’s Speech outlining government plans for the next parliament had little mention of public service legislation.

There was no mention at all on Mental Health reform. This area of health is more than due an overhaul – an outdated legal framework has led to disproportionate involuntary detention of Black and ethnic minority people. Legisation to reform mental health would have helped to modernise mental health care and eliminate racial health inequalities.

Jabeer Butt, Race Equality Foundation Chief Executive says:

“It is hugely disappointing that lawmakers have not seized on this final chance to enact meaningful change in this parliament. Reforming outdated mental health laws should have been a top priority. Inadequate healthcare disproportionately affects Black, Asian and ethnic minority people. This is a real lost opportunity to have significantly improved millions of people’s lives and reduced inequality.”


As part of the Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, the Foundation also supports this response:

CYPMHC Response to the King’s Speech

Today the King’s Speech was delivered, and as a group of organisations and individuals representing the rights of children and young people, we are deeply disappointed that there was no commitment to bring forward a Mental Health Bill to reform the Mental Health Act.

For too long, the Mental Health Act has failed people who require mental health care and reforms are long overdue. Inequalities in the disproportionate use of detentions, high levels of restraint – particularly experienced by children and young people – and the removal of patient autonomy are just some of the problems with the Act in its current form. Reforming the Act would provide a vital opportunity to enhance children and young people’s rights, to strengthen safeguards for those admitted to mental health hospitals – particularly for children placed in inappropriate settings and in adult wards – and to re-balance the system to one that prioritises and promotes patient voice and choice in their treatment.

As a sector, we are increasingly concerned that mental health is no longer a political priority. With the loss of the ten-year mental health plan earlier this year, the promise to reform the Mental Health Act is yet another commitment abandoned by this Government. Sadly, it is children, young people and their families that are most impacted by these failed promises.

We are clear that work to promote mental health and improve the mental health care of all children and young people cannot stall. Whilst we want to see new legislation, we also need action outside of lengthy parliamentary processes to ensure that there are changes and improvements as soon as possible. A lack of legislation does not prevent the Government from acting now to ensure that sufficient resources are invested so that all children and young people get the mental health support they need, at the time they need it.

Signed by:

Amy Whitelock Gibbs, Chair, The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition

Andy Bell, CEO, Centre for Mental Health

Anna Edmundson, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, NSPCC

Allan Myatt, CEO, Ormiston Families

Bec Jasper, Co-director PACT Parents and Carers Together CIC

Brian Dow, Chief Executive, Mental Health UK

Dr Cath Lowther, General Secretary, Association of Educational Psychologists

Cassi Harrison, CEO, Youth Access

Clare Stafford, CEO, Charlie Waller Trust

Conor Warren, CEO of Spark UK

David Holmes CBE, CEO, Family Action

Dympna Cunnane, CEO, Our Time

Ellie Costello, CEO, Square Peg

Emma Rigby, Chief Executive, Association of Young People’s Health

Ged Flynn, Chief Executive, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide

Hansa Raja, CEO, Holding Space

Harriet Gill, Manager Director – Education and Wellbeing, Coram Life Education and SCARF

Jabeer Butt, Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation

Jacqui Suttie, CEO and Founder, PTSD UK

Jane Sedgwick, Director, Associate Development Solutions

onathan Senker, Chief Executive, VoiceAbility

Jonny Benjamin MBE, Founder and Chair, Beyond

Jyles Robillard-Day, CEO, National Counselling & Psychotherapy Society (NCPS)

Katharine Sacks-Jones, CEO, Become

Kathy Roberts, CEO, Association of Mental Health Providers

Karen Carrington, Headteacher, The Cambian Group (Dunbroch School)

Laura Bunt, CEO, YoungMinds

Laura Seebohm, CEO, Maternal Mental Health Alliance

Lea Milligan, CEO, MQ Mental Health Research

Leigh Middleton, CEO, The National Youth Agency

Leigh Wallbank, CEO, OCD Action

Lesley Pollard, CEO, Children and Young People’s Empowerment Project

Liz Emerson, Co-Founder, Intergenerational Foundation

Louisa Rose, CEO, Beyond

Maggie Cleary, Chief Executive Officer, STRM – SEND the Right Message

Mark Lee, Chief Executive, Together Trust

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness

Millie Hall, Children and Young’s People Activism Lead, Article 39

Neil Moggan – Founding Director – Future Action

Dr Nihara Krause MBE, Founder, CEO and Chief Clinical Officer, stem4

Paula Farrow, CEO and Founder, MyOTAS

Penny Logsdail, Director, Summerhouse Services

Phil Anderson, Director of External Affairs, National Children’s Bureau

Professor Peter Fonagy OBE, Chief Executive, Anna Freud

Raj Ubhi, Director – Children and Young People’s Services, Change Grow Live

Rachel Bundock, Chief Executive, Compass – Services to Improve Health and Wellbeing

Reshmi Copperthwaite, Programme Lead for Education and Equalities, Council for Disabled Children

Robbie de Santos, Director of Communications and External Affairs, Stonewall

Sam Gamblin, Charity Manager, University Mental Health Advisers Network

Sarb Bajwa, Chief Executive, British Psychological Society

Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive, Mind

Sarah Shenow, Strategy and Research Impact Consultant, Sarah Shenow Consultancy

Shantanu Kundu, Chief Executive, Be Free Campaign

Sharon White OBE, CEO, SAPHNA

Simone Spray, CEO, 42nd Street

Sue Bell, CEO and Clinical Director, Kids Inspire

Vanessa Longley, CEO, Chance UK

Go to Top