BME Mental Health Carer forum update January 2018

Welcome back to the 2nd blog of 2018. This particular blog post is a brief update to one of the carer forums I chair in South London. The forum is the BME Mental Health Carer forum in Lewisham. This forum gives a chance for both carer and patient/service user to engage with service providers on mental health matters.

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We were delighted to have the equality lead from South London and Maudsley attend to present on their latest equality report titled “Meeting the public sector equality duty at SLaM (2017 edition)”. Before I explain a bit about the report, we had a guest speaker Chris Robertson from “Dont Tone alone”. Chris was speaking about an exciting new project in conjunction with Carers Lewisham on providing exercise classes for unpaid carers. Chris works with carers and those suffering mental ill health. As a note, it is hard for carers to get time to focus on their physical health, plus exercise is one of the main benefits for well-being.

If you wish to sign up to one of exercise classes, please check the flyer below.

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Healthwatch Lewisham also attended the BME forum to learn more about what SLaM is doing regarding equality, so I was very pleased at healthwatch joining in the discussion. Going back to the report, it was produced by the Equality lead Macius Kurowski.

Macius spoke in great detail on what the aim of the report was for and the importance of data. Macius pointed out several important points regarding African and Caribbean use of mental health services. The data held in the report is a mirror of how services are being used and gives some insight on what is working well and what isn’t.

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Some revealing aspects of the data is the use of BME CAMH services, it was discussed how we could raise awareness of BME groups accessing such services. Some members of the group were happy such a report is done, because it gives a birds eye view in the whole of SLaMs services.

Macius warned that the report is not a solution to complex BME problems, but is a mirror of what is happening. A large majority of questions from the forum were on the subject of institualisation, race, equality and experiences of the mental health system.

Macius noted more needs to be done for BME groups to access certain services especially IAPTS (Increasing Access to psychological therapy).

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More discussions were held on spirituality, the mis-understanding of BME culture and behaviour, restraint and high rate of BME usage in forensic services.

Personally I was glad Macius returned once again to the forum to speak to those using the services and I hope it has got the ball rolling with both SlaM and members of the forum engaging with each other to improve aspects of mental health.

If you wish to learn more about the report you can download them from

https://www.slam.nhs.uk/about-us/equality/public-sector-equality-duty

Thanks for stopping by

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