Mental Health Equality

The Mental Health Equality Campaign was set up at the start of 2018 in response to mental health inequalities experienced by racialised groups and is composed of an ever growing network of various Black, Asian and Minority, Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) groups in North West London and beyond such as the Council of Somali Organisations (CSO) and their members and networks, Centre for Armenian Information and Advice (CAIA), Tamil Community Centre (TCC), Network of Eritrean Women (NEW), Ilays – Somali Community Organisation, Account Trust (Nepali Community Organisation), as well as National Survivor User Network (NSUN), We Coproduce, Race on the Agenda (ROTA) and HEAR - Equality and Human Rights Network.

Alternative Consultation Event: Hardly Hard to Reach: We Are Having Our Say’

The Mental Health Equality Campaign organised an alternative consultation event ‘Hardly Hard to Reach: We Are Having Our Say’ on 12 June 2018 with members of the Mental Health Equality Campaign composed of various Black, Asian and Minority, Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) groups. Partner groups included: Council of Somali Organisations (CSO), Centre for Armenian Information and Advice (CAIA), Tamil Community Centre (TCC), Network of Eritrean Women (NEW), Ilays – Somali Community Organisation, Account Trust (Nepali Community Organisation), National Survivor User Network (NSUN), and HEAR - Equality and Human Rights Network. The alternative consultation was organised as a grass root community response to the North West London (NWL) Collaborative of eight NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCG) consultation on Equality Objectives and commissioning plans for the next four years by in North West London (Ealing, Harrow, Hounslow, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Brent, Kensington & Chelsea, City of Westminster). The development and updating of Equality Objectives (EO) and Equality Delivery System (EDS), in consultation with communities of need, is a statutory obligation designed to help CCGs commission and deliver the right services and reduce health inequalities. The alternative consultation was attended by over 50 people, including people with mental health support needs, community and voluntary sector organisations and local councillors. An outline of the discussions and points raised at the alternative consultation event as well as REAP’s Networking Conference: “Building New Lives: Refugees in West London” and outreach within our networks outside those events can be read HERE

This submission response specifically addresses how the eight CCGs in North West London can use EO and Equality Delivery Systems (EDS) to reduce health and mental health inequalities for people with mental health support needs from racialised groups in NWL.

The submission asks CCGs to consider intersectional inequalities and the demography of the communities that they serve when commissioning culturally appropriate provision of MH services for BAMER communities. The submission also argues that CCGs should commit to commissioning early intervention, holistic, culturally and linguistically sensitive services from the local Voluntary Community Sector (VCS). The projects and services run by community organisations are mostly culturally based, non-stigmatising, and holistic at a local community space that is known and trusted, and provide an opportunity for early intervention. Community organisations often provide safer, more accessible, responsive, efficient and cost effective services that reduce health inequality and play an important role in preventing minor mental health problems from becoming more serious, thereby reducing health crises, costs to the NHS and Public Health and improving planning of delivery. Yet, Frontline VCS are left out of commissioning opportunities and are continually under-funded, despite their impact on and access to service users. CCGs should add clauses to contracts awarded to national, generic and second tier organisations that require them to sub-contract/buy expertise from local, user-led VCS. The submission also acknowledges that MH services and obligations relating to need, are the responsibility of not just CCGs but Local Authority (LA) and Public Health. CCGs and LA must work collaboratively to develop seamless provision for people with rights and complex needs.

The NWL CCG EOs will be published in September and the Mental Health Equality Campaign will continue to work with NWL Collaborative to support the eight CCGs to become an example of using EO and EDS mechanisms and cross-CCG working to produce real, measurable reductions in health inequalities for significantly discriminated against communities.

Act Now to Reduce Mental Health Inequality - Campaign Letter

The alternative consultation event follows our campaign letter with practical suggestions for how to improve involvement and commissioning has been signed by Councillors in many London boroughs and is still open to read and sign HERE.