African and Caribbean Mental Roundtable Number 10 Independent review of the Mental Health Act

In October 2017, the Prime Minister commissioned an independent review of the Mental Health Act,

seeking to address concerns about how the legislation is currently used. The Government noted concerns that the Mental Health Act is out of step with a modern mental health system, giving special attention to rising rates of detention and the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds currently being detained under the Act.

The review was tasked with appraising existing practice and evidence, and formulating recommendations to improve legislation and/or practice in the future.

The review is due to publish a final report of recommendations in late 2018, and will publish an interim report in spring 2018 highlighting priorities for further investigation during the review.

Further information on the independent review, including terms of reference, can be found at the following website:

The roundtable on Thursday 15th of February is the first time a high-level meeting at Number 10 has been organised by a government which brought together many experts by experience, professionals, patient advocates, faith and community representatives, and academics with expertise in relation to African and Caribbean community.

The roundtable was co-chaired by Steve Gilbert, vice-chair of the independent review, and Jacqui Dyer, co-chair of the review’s African and Caribbean working group and Chair of Black Thrive. Professor Sir Simon Wessely, chair of the independent review and Nero Ughwujabo, Special Adviser for Social Justice, Young People and Opportunities for the Prime Minister’s Office also attended.

The independent review of the Mental Health Act seeks to explore why people from black African and Caribbean communities are more highly represented among those subject to the Mental Health Act, and what might be done to address any discrepancies and reduce inequalities.

This roundtable explored the following issues:

  • Inform the independent review, including the work of the review’s African and Caribbean working group.
  • Influence emerging policies to ensure that people of African and Caribbean descent with mental
  • health challenges receive the treatment and support they need, when they need it, are treated with dignity, and that their liberty and autonomy are respected as far as possible.
  • How can we set about improving access, experience and outcomes for black African and?

Caribbean individuals? What changes would you like to see as part of the independent review?

The roundtable last for three hours and covered the following issues

  • Substance misuse
  • Secure care
  • Approved mental health professionals
  • Criminal justice system
  • Race equality
  • Unconscious bias
  • Black Thrive, Lambeth
  • NHS providers

Other issues at the meeting:  Race Disparity Audit, children and young people, impacts of cuts and decommissioning of the black voluntary sector, structural racism, alternatives to the medical model, and community trauma.

The meeting had strong representation from Black Thrive and SlaM at the meeting reflecting the influencing of Lambeth at a national level.

Further details of the review or   with any questions/ contributions email [email protected]

EHRC are advertising for an organisation to assess the impact of the Mental Health Act on inequality

Read further Patrick Vernon ‘s perspectives on the review of the Mental Health Act and the Race Disparity Audit.

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