Alliance policies: Black and Minority Ethnic Communities

The Mental Health Alliance is concerned that the current Mental Health Act does not adequately safeguard the interests and needs of BME groups, and the Government's proposals to date have not offered solutions to the glaring inequalities within the system. This undermines the Governmentís commitment to Race Equality in the provision of mental health services.

The Department of Health conducted a Race Equality Impact Assessment (REIA) on the 2004 Draft Bill. There was real concern that BME groups were under-consulted and that the process was rushed and might not have conformed to Commission for Racial Equality guidelines. The Alliance is calling for the results of that process to be published.

The Alliance welcomes the REIA as an essential preliminary safeguard. We urge the Government to be open and thorough in conducting this process for its new proposals and we hope that it will pay due regard to the Advisory Groupís recommendations. In particular, the Alliance believes that a thorough Race Equality Impact Assessment should include within its scope the entirety of the 1983 Act, rather than just the six areas of new policy it intends to introduce. The REIA should be published at the same time as the Bill is introduced into Parliament and it should be used to guide the process of reform.

The Alliance would like to see:

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