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In brief: Black people 4-times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act

Image of black man facing away from camera
Andre Hunter | Unsplash

Top story Racial disparities in mental health services laid bare

Vast disparities remain between how Black and White people interact with and experience mental health services, including being 4-times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act.

The findings come from the Annual Report of the Director of Public Health for Wandsworth, titled Enough is Enough, which highlights differences in the experience of mental health services for ethnic minorities.

As well as having a significantly higher rate of being detained under the Mental Health Act, Black people were also 4-times more likely to be subjected to 'restrictive interventions in outpatient settings', which includes being restrained or tranquilised.

The report also highlights key concerns with diagnosis and service access: 1 in 3 Black women experienced a common mental health disorder in the past week compared with 1 in 5 White women; Black adults are 76% less likely to receive mental health treatment; and Black youths are 10-times more likely to be referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

"Ethnic minorities continue to experience stark inequalities in diagnosis of mental health disorders, access to treatment, the experience of care, and their mental health outcomes," says Shannon Katiyo, director of Public Health, in the report's foreword. "Compared to White British groups, Black people are 76% less likely to receive mental health treatment; Bangladeshi people are 7% less likely to show improvement following treatment for anxiety and depression; and Black Caribbeans and Black Africans are two times more likely to have police involvement during inpatient admissions."

Almost half of UK workers “not in positive state of mental wellbeing”

A survey has found that 47% of UK adults are not in a positive state of mental wellbeing, with 21% “struggling” with emotional distress and 26% reporting an absence of positive wellbeing.

The research was conducted by AXA UK and the Centre for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and involved 30,000 people aged 18–74 from 16 American, Asian and European countries.

The research also involved economic modelling of how poor mental health affects the economy, which found that an estimated 23.3 million working days are being lost to generally poor mental health, burnout and stress every year, costing the UK economy roughly £28 billion last year.

"Encouraging" findings in trial of psychedelic drug for depression

Early results from a small trial of intravenous DMT – a strong pharmaceutical-grade hallucinogenic also referred to as SPL026 – have shown that the drug may help improve symptoms of severe and moderate depression when used alongside therapy.

The findings were released by the biotechnology company Small Pharma based on the drugs effects on 34 participants.

Within 3 months of treatment, 14 of the participants were in remission, with 9 of these remaining in remission up to six months.

Chief medical and scientific officer at Small Pharma, Dr Carol Routledge, said that researchers are “increasingly encouraged” by SPL026's potential efficacy.

"A single dose in conjunction with therapy demonstrated a rapid and robust antidepressant effect after one week."

Study suggests that social media generally has no significant effect on teenage mental health

Research conducted on 3,288 teenagers has found that social media has no significant effect on teenagers’ levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

The study recognises that it is difficult to draw conclusions on the impact of social media on mental health and that everyone’s experience of it differs.

However, overall, it found that the influence of social media on mental health is often overstated and that gender, ethnicity and social-economic background are factors with much greater impact.

Survey suggest children face a "catastrophic" mental health crisis

The Education Survey, conducted on 18,000 teachers from England and Wales, has revealed major concerns that children are at risk of a mental health crisis caused by “patchwork and often inadequate access” to specialist school services.

The survey, conducted by the National Education Union (NEU), also revealed that two-thirds of teachers feel there are not enough workers trained in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS); one-third of support staff have no specialist help; and that it is “commonplace” for there to be no trained mental health first-aider, mental health lead or school nurse in independent and state schools.

The majority of teachers reported that the biggest “hindrance to providing proper support to pupils in need” was ongoing staff shortages and their own increased workload.

Reduced A&E admissions thanks to new police and NHS mental health scheme

A scheme where police officers are joined by a mental health practitioner attending mental health crisis callouts has been found to drastically reduce A&E admissions resulting from poor mental health.

The scheme was developed by the Mental Health Joint Response Unit, which is run by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, and has the aim of providing the correct support in the correct place.

So far, the Unit has attended callouts to help over 2000 people with staff reporting that, if a mental health specialist not been present, 800 of whom would have been taken to hospital and 607 would have been detained for their own safety.

A similar service provided by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) has also been praised recently for its successful results.

South Asian kidney patients in the UK receive unequal mental health support

New research from the University of Hertfordshire has found that South Asian dialysis patients face increased barriers to accessing mental health support, with one-third experiencing depression at some point.

Patients who require hospital-based haemodialysis are especially vulnerable to symptoms of depression or low mood.

Although South Asians only make up 5% of the UK population, the group makes up 12.2% of kidney service users in the UK.

Co-lead and Associate professor in Health Inequalities at the University’s School of Life and Medical Sciences, Dr Shivani Sharma said:

“Our study unveiled a number of obstacles to identifying depression in South Asian kidney patients. Language and cultural barriers were a common theme – for example, in many South Asian languages, there are no equivalent terms for depression.

"Where English is a language barrier, even when family members are on hand to translate, these cultural differences in how patients experience and express their symptoms contribute to under-diagnosis.”


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