More research needed on mental health care services for ethnic minorities, says The King's Fund

Responding to the Healthcare Commission's census on mental health in-patients released today, The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'The high admission rates of ethnic minority communities to mental health hospitals as highlighted in this report are potentially worrying. We know that people from black communities in particular are over-represented in hospital care and many are subject to compulsory treatment and detention. They also experience more restrictive care than other patients.

'We now need more robust evidence as to why this is occurring. We need more detailed analysis on the different patterns of mental illness in ethnic communities, and we need to know how much levels of deprivation affect admission rates to mental health hospitals.

'However, much of the problem stems from a lack of community support. The King's Fund's own evidence suggests that there is a shortage of good quality preventative care available in the community to minority ethnic groups. We have recommended increased support for ethnic minority communities, including more resources for local voluntary, community and faith organisations. Women from these communities are in particular need of specialist support.

'We know that there is race discrimination in mental health care and welcome the efforts that the government is making to reduce this, both by promoting race equality and by engaging black and minority ethnic communities.

'It is normal practice for government departments to publish a race equality impact assessment where the issue is relevant to a particular bill. We therefore look forward to receiving a full assessment of how the draft Mental Health Bill will impact on black and minority ethnic groups'

Notes to editors: 

  1. For further information, interviews or a media copy of either report, please contact the King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. For out-of-hours enquiries, please contact 07774 218439 or 07831 554927. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.