A local NHS Trust, Berkshire Healthcare, is partnering with Mind in Berkshire to better understand why Black people are more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act, to help improve mental health support and care for Black people.
Data shows that nationally, Black individuals are five times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act (sometimes called ‘being sectioned’) than White individuals. This engagement seeks to improve understanding about why this is, and what needs to change to make things fairer and better suited to meeting the needs of Black people.
Mind in Berkshire is currently looking for Black people in Berkshire who have been detained under the Mental Health Act in the last five years, and the family members and friends who support them, to share their lived experiences as part of this project.
Participation will be completely anonymous, and those taking part will have the opportunity to talk about how their lives, and those of their loved ones, were impacted by being sectioned. They will have their voices heard and be able to influence positive change in how mental health services are delivered.
The findings will help inform how Berkshire Healthcare can improve the support it provides and help address inequality. Learnings will also be shared with other NHS Mental Health Trusts and other organisations who may find it helpful.
Dr Minoo Irani, Medical Director at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“Both nationally and locally, Black people are more likely to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act than any other ethnic group. We know this is a persistent and unacceptable inequality and we plan to address it. Respecting and supporting the fact that mental health detention is regarded as essential in the interest of a patient’s health, safety and protection, we’ll work with service users, clinicians, and local partners to understand the impact of being detained has on person’s freedom. We will listen to their experience to bring positive change and improve health outcomes for the Black community.”
CEO of Oxfordshire Mind, Jess Willsher, and Andrea McCubbin, CEO of Buckinghamshire Mind, who jointly manage Mind in Berkshire, said:
“Mind in Berkshire is delighted to be undertaking this important work to improve understanding of why Black people are more likely than others to experience detention under the Mental Health Act. We’ll be talking to Black individuals, families and communities who’ve been through this experience, and working with them to help their stories drive change. Using lived experience to develop and improve services is very much part of our ethos. And we welcome this opportunity to be part of tackling this significant health inequality.”
The findings will be subject to an independent review by the NHS Race and Health Observatory and an action plan based on the recommendations from this report will be fed into the next phase of the project and help inform future mental health interventions.
About the Mind in Berkshire engagement
There are a number of ways in which people can speak to Mind in Berkshire about their experiences including face to face, email and an online questionnaire. Any information shared with Mind in Berkshire will be kept completely anonymous.
This may involve either a one-to-one interview or a focus group with around 4-8 other people. The interviews and focus groups have been designed to allow participants to tell their stories and recount their experiences in their own words.
The engagement will gather insight on the kinds of support that Black people in Berkshire knew about and used before they were detained and after they were discharged, and any treatment received during and after they were detained. It will also explore any barriers to accessing support and the drivers leading to detention.
How to take part
People wishing to take part should contact Mind in Berkshire direct at: [email protected]