The Kindred Minds BME service user led manifesto ‘A Call for Social Justice’ has been finalised. The Manifesto has concrete demands for change and builds upon two decades of studies on BME mental health and involved consulting with over 200 BME service users in south London.
The manifesto is a unique resource, has been written by BME mental health service users and has a comprehensive vision for the policy and practice changes needed to improve the mental well-being of BME mental health service users. That vision calls for wider political action to end racial injustice:
“Racism is a political issue. Inequality is a political issue. Mental health is a political issue. We should hold politicians to account.”
The manifesto makes clear the cumulative impact of interlinked areas of life on BME mental health throughout the life span, as in this striking quote:
“There’s a modern day Bermuda Triangle for black men, which is located between the 3 points of; Education (the entry point), Criminal Justice and Mental Health. Thousands will pass through, but a disproportionately high number will quite literally disappear within this black man’s Bermuda triangle.”
As well as race, the manifesto also looks at the intersections with gender, class, sexual orientation and refugee status, and highlights the way services do not address this:
“Services are sometimes just about able to talk about cultural appropriateness when it relates to one aspect of diversity, such as race. But they do not acknowledge that some of us experience oppression on account of other factors too, like gender or sexuality.”
The manifesto has some strong ideas for reform of mental health services at a time when the Mental Health Act Review is under way and Theresa May’s Race Disparity Audit highlighted how black people are four times as likely as white people to be detained under the Mental Health Act.
NSUN is proud to have supported Raza Griffiths to have completed this work.
As funding for the production of the Manifesto from Trust for London has come to an end, Griffiths said: “We now need to raise further to promote the manifesto”.