Inequalities in mental health support are a real challenge. We have long-term evidence that Black people in Lambeth are less likely to seek support but in 2018 were nearly five times more likely than White British people to be detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act
Context and key challenges
More work needs to be done to better understand the experiences of those from Black communities as well as LGBTQ+ and other ‘minority’ communities.
However, our current belief is that there may be more reluctance from these communities to seek mental health support early, and the system itself may be making it more difficult for these communities to access and receive support when they do ask for it. If people do not get support early then they are more likely to have a ‘crisis’ which may lead them to requiring much more restrictive support, such as admission to a hospital bed or even a secure (locked) facility.
The chart shows that nearly half (47%) of our adult mental health hospital beds were taken by those from Black communities (up from 43% the previous year) whereas those Black communities only make up 1 in 5 (19%) of Lambeth’s working age population. We are working hard to understand why this is the case and how we can make sure that anyone from any background feels comfortable asking for support as soon as they need it, and that support is easy to access, sensitive to their individual needs and effective.