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Edir Frederico Da Costa death reinforces Black Britain's fear of UK police as race soldiers

27 June 2017

Edir_Frederico_Da_Costa_aka_Edson_and_son_1Concerns raised by BMH UK at the United Nations in April that Britain's African Caribbean communities experience the police as race soldiers has been reinforced by the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa last Wednesday, after reports that he was 'brutally beaten' by officers during a routine traffic stop 'sustaining: a broken neck; broken collarbone; brain damage as a result of head injuries and loss of sight caused by CS spray'.
This latest in a long line of killings, sparked protest in North London this week, while human rights groups question the flawed and lengthy investigations surrounding such incidents, which fail to deliver justice for the bereaved and the community, but fuel costly legal bureaucratic processes that last for many years.



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Met Police Taser increase a human rights concerns for black Londoners

20 June 2017

Cressida_Dick_4_-_Met_CommissionerHuman rights campaigns group Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK) view today's announcement by Met Commissioner Cresssida Dick that more officers will be trained to use Taser as a retrograde step that has serious implications for the safety of innocent black people from the UK's African Caribbean communities, particularly those who are forced to use mental health services.



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Mental health 'biomedical gatekeepers' perpetuate stigma & discrimination UN warns

16 June 2017

UN_SR__report_on_health_to_HRC__p_1_2017By Staff writer
With black people from the UK's African Caribbean communities continuing to be disproportionately subject to detention under the Mental Health Act and subject to highly coercive treatment when in this system, even thought there aren't higher rates of mental illness amongst this group, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health's new report calling for a move away from traditional thinking and the outdated practices that violate human rights has been welcomed across black Britain.



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Minster for policing acknowledges BMH UK's work in announcement on new Taser

06 March 2017

Brandon_Lewis_MP_797_x_691The Minister of State for Fire and Police, Brandon Lewis MP acknowledged Black Mental Health UK in his statement to parliament on the work by the police to improve transparency on how they use force, however he also confirmed that the Home Secretary has authorised a new more powerful Taser. BMH UK are concerned that the introduction of this weapon will undermine community confidence in the police and lead to higher levels of force being used against the most vulnerable people from Britain's black communities.



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Diabetes, mental health and over-medication: don't overlook the link

08 February 2017

mental_health_butt4With the racial bias in diagnosis continuing to drive the disproportionately high incidence rate of labelling black people from the UK's African Caribbean communities with schizophrenia, community campaigners say that new data showing that people who are given this diagnosis are at an increased risk of developing diabetes have failed to factor this into their research. Human rights experts point to the need for this sector to acknowledge that the raft of physical illnesses and reduced life expectancy of up to 30 years of people detained in this system is due to environmental factors such as the over medication and punitive 'care' that black patients, more than any other group, are subject to.



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Powerful next-gen Taser guns sparks fears over misuse against black Britain

14 December 2016

TASERHome Secretary Amber Rudd's decision to green light the next generation of Taser guns is a retrograde step, which may well prove to be a matter of life and death for black Britons. These well founded fears have been sparked in the wake of data showing that those known to have a mental health condition are four times more likely to die after police use force against them, and that black people of African descent are three times more likely to be subject to this firearm than their white counterparts.



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Ban Taser firearms against detained mental health patients petition' launched - ban#taser

06 December 2016

BMH_UK__bantaser_Campaign_Change.org_Human rights campaigns group Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK) have launched a new Change.org petition as part of their drive to secure an outright ban on the illicit use of Taser firearms against patients detained in locked psychiatric wards. The unethical deployment of these stun guns in hospital settings will be among the issues discussed during report stage on the Policing and Crime Bill that will take place in the House of Lords this again this week.



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Time to close down locked wards? Risks of suicide and absconding not reduced in locked wards

05 December 2016

Lancet_Psychaitry_info_graphic._526_x_272_jpgConfirming what has been known across Britain's black communities for many years now, that coercion and detention is nether therapeutic or aids recovery, a 15 year observational study published in the Lancet Psychiatry that has seen little mainstream media attention shows that there is very little or any evidence to show locked wards prevent people committing suicide or absconding, rather an open-door policy may foster a better therapeutic atmosphere and thus promote better health outcomes.



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Premier league footballer Dalian Atkinson, killed by police Taser, to be laid to rest this weekend

18 November 2016

Dalian_Atkinson_1The funeral of premier league footballer Dalian Atkinson will be held this Saturday 19th November. He died after police kicked and tasered him six times after responding to calls of a disturbance at his parents' home. The athlete had been battling kidney problems and was in deep emotional distress at the time. His death has reinforced fears across black Britain over how the most vulnerable and those who have mental health needs from this community are treated by the police.



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Taser death of man in need of mental health care reinforces community consensus that policing has no place in mental health care

01 November 2016

Police_officers_by_carThe tragic Taser related death of yet another vulnerable man, that IPCC reports show that police also restrained after they shot him with their stunn guns, has reinforced the consensus among Britons black communities that policing has no place when dealing with those in need of mental health care, in light of the lethal levels of force that those in crisis may be subject to.



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House of Lords to debate BMH UK's demand for Taser ban on psychiatric wards

31 October 2016

BMH_UK_Campaign_-_Ban_Taser_in_psychiatric_hospitals_1-11-16An amendment in support of human rights campaigns group Back Mental Health UK's (BMH UK) demand for an outright ban on the unethical use of Taser firearms against patients detained on locked psychiatric wards, will be among the issues debated in Day 3 of committee stage of the Policing and Crime Bill in the House of Lords on Wednesday 2nd November 2016.



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Institutional racism in mental health services highlighted in David Bennett inquiry report featured in Inner Temple Library Black History Month project

13 October 2016

Inner_Temple_BHM_David_Bennett_BMH_UK_coverage_pageInner Temple Library has included BMH UK's coverage of the high profile David Bennett Inquiry report, which put a national spotlight on the institutional racism suffered by black people that come in contact with statutory mental health services in their Black British History and the Law project for Black History Month 2016.



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WMHD psychological first aid welcomed by community who say, a focus on state injustices against black patients is also needed

10 October 2016

WHOWith black people from the UK's African Caribbean communities who are subject to detention under the Mental Heath Act very rarely being offered anything other than the medical model of care, where they are subject to highly coercive treatment which all too often involves unnecessarily & unwanted contact with the police, this year's theme for World Mental Health Day of psychological first aid is welcome. BMH UK point to the need for the levels of state violence, particularly the use of Taser firearms against patients to be among the issues that also need to be addressed on this day.



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BBC Radio 4 exploring political views of new PM includes interview with BMH UK's director

06 October 2016

PM_Theresa_May_MPA BBC Radio 4 programme exploring the political beliefs and underlying philosophy of PM Theresa May, features those who have worked closely with her whether in her own party, across the despatch box in the House of Commons, in government or in international negotiations, as well as to friends and family. An interview with BMH UK director Matilda MacAttram speaking on the issues of the poor treatment of black people in mental health services and the mass incarceration of black Britons is included in this piece.



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Council of Europe race report calls on UK government to address the discrimination faced by black people using mental health services

04 October 2016

ECRI_UK_country_report_Oct_2016Calls have been made by the international human rights watchdog, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) for the UK Government to commit to addressing the racism and discrimination faced by black people from the UKs African Caribbean communities that come in contact with mental health services and the police. The demands set out in a new report, follow a country-wide review by this commission on the UKs track record on race.

 



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Social model of mental health needs equal footing with medical model parliamentary report states

30 September 2016

APPG_report_into_mental_health_social_work_Aug_2016A new inquiry report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Work into adult mental health services has found that social work is essential preventing a mental health crisis and has flagged up the need for the social model of mental health to be promoted on an equal footing with medical and other clinical approaches. This document notes that black people in particular continue to be experience poorer outcomes and that the much needed prevention model for mental health care continues to remain under developed.



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BMH UK's Campaign to ban Taser against detained patients a step closer to becoming law

29 September 2016

Ban_TaserBMH UK's campaign to secure a ban on the illicit practice of police deploying Taser against patients detained under the Mental Health Act on locked psychiatric wards is a step closer to becoming law, as an amendment to the Policing and Crime Bill, by former minister for mental health Norman Lamb MP, supporting BMH UK's demands has been re-tabled for debate in the House of Lords.



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Government committee concludes 'parity of esteem' between mental and physical health very difficult to achieve

28 September 2016

Improving_Access_to_Mental_Health_Services_-_House_of_Commons_Sept_16A new report by the House of Commons Select Committee has concluded that while the Government has a "laudable ambition" to improve these services, they are sceptical it is affordable or achievable without compromising other services. Community activist say that the omission of any inclusion of evidence from even one a black led agency in this report, in light of the continuing disproportionate detention rates of people from the UK's African Caribbean communities, who are subject to the most coercive and costly treatment when in this system, raises serious concerns.



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State violence against the community sees death of another black man, Dalian Atkinson, after being Tasered by police

15 August 2016

Dalian_Atkinson__ex_Man_City_Football_athleteBritain's black communities have been left terrified in the wake of the tragic death of footballer Dalian Atkinson, after he was Tasered by police at his parents' home, in the early hours of Monday morning. Activist say this spotlights the alarming levels of force being used against people from the UK's African Caribbean communities and point to this, latest in a long line of fatalities, as reinforcing the need for ban of these so called 'less lethal weapons' against vulnerable people, particularly those detained under the Mental Health Act.



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Questions raised in parliament on transparency of Taser use against detained patients

07 July 2016

officer_taser_beltBy Zephaniah Samuels
In a bid for greater transparency on the disturbing use of Taser against patients detained on locked psychiatric wards, shadow Lib Dem health spokesman The Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP has tabled a series of written questions asking for details on the number of times that this firearm has been deployed against patients in the past five years. This comes on the back of the former minister for mental health's call for a ban on Tasers in hospitals in support of BMH UK's campaign to end this human rights abuse.



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UN Human Rights Council adopt resolution on mental health and human rights

06 July 2016

UN_GA_MH_resolution_July_2016By Ruth Dayspring
The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a new resolution on mental health and human rights without a vote. With growing human rights concerns around the treatment of detained patients from the UK's African Caribbean communities, this comes as a timely reminder of the need for states to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to ensure that policies and services related to mental health comply with international human rights norms.



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Home Secretary needs to be alerted every time police attend mental health wards

01 July 2016

Charles_Walker_OBE_MP_3_Charles Walker MP's call for the Home Secretary to be notified whenever police are deployed onto psychiatric wards, reflects the widespread concern over the absence of any transparency around this practice. The need for independent investigations into every incident was flagged up as a way of addressing the culture of cover-up that currently surrounds such cases. These demands, which were made during the Policing and Crime Bill debate, are a sign of progress, but fall short of the outright ban of police presence on wards that BMH UK is lobbying for.



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Review of provision of supported housing for those with mental health needs sidelines race

01 July 2016

Centre_for_MH_report_-_More_than_shelter_-_supported_accomodation_June_16A Department of Health commissioned literature review on people with mental health problems and housing's failure to make any reference to race, or the body of evidence which shows that the social and economic exclusion faced by ethnic minority groups makes them more vulnerable to becoming homeless, raises concerns across Britons black communities, that this omission is part of a move see the injustices faced by black patients who use mental health services remain unaddressed.



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Shattering the silence on the hidden human rights abuse of Taser against detained mental health patients

30 June 2016

Rt_Hon_Norman_Lamb_speaking_Clause_to_ban_Taser_on_psychiatric_wards._-_13-06-16The call for an outright ban on the use of Taser against patients detained on locked psychiatric wards by the former minister for mental health the Rt. Hon Norman Lamb MPs in support of BMH UK's campaign, during the House of Commons debate on the Policing and Crime Bill, has placed this largely hidden human rights abuse on the national agenda, while reminding politicians and the sector more widely of the protections that this group have under international human rights law.



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Inquiry on restraint, solitary confinement & strip searching of children in prison makes no reference to race

29 June 2016

Carlile_Inquiry_20_years_onThe 'Carlile Inquiry 10 years on', which examines the use of restraint, solitary confinement and strip-searching, has slammed the 'illegal systematic abuse of children' in this report. With young people from the UK's African Caribbean communities accounting for a staggering 28% of those in children's prison, the absence of any reference to race or indication on the use of force against this group is a grave omission race equality experts say.



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Prison Minister Andrew Selous tweets Juliet Lyon's appointment as new chair of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in custody

29 June 2016

Andrew_Selous_Prison_Minister_-__Juliet_Lyon_appointmentThe new chair to the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody has been announced through a tweet by Prison Minister Andrew Selous, describing the role as needing someone with 'compassion, integrity and commitment - all of which she has.' Race equality experts hope that the growing  disproportionately of black people from the UK's African Caribbean communities that are over represented across all custodial settings will be among the issues prioritised by the new chair.



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BMH UK flag urgent need for the recognition of anti-black/African-phobic racism facing black Britons

22 June 2016

ECRI_300._jpgBMH UK has called on the Council of Europe's European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance to request that the British Government address the anti-black/African-phobic racism facing black Britons living in the UK. In a written submission, in preparation of their country monitoring report, BMH UK highlighted the consistent failure of the mainstream equalities agenda to address the racial injustices faced by black patients within mental health services. This document also detailed the discrimination faced by the wider community which has resulted in stark social and economic disparities that are consistently sidelined in public policies.



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BMH UK honoured at Black Fathers Annual Community Awards

21 June 2016

Black_Fathers_support_group_logoBy Ruth Dayspring
The Black Father's support group has given BMH UK's director Matilda MacAttram an award in recognition of her services to the community, for her leadership of the UK's only black led human rights campaigns group that advocates at a policy level for those from the community subject to detention under the Mental Health Act. BMH UK was nominated by organisers of this event for keeping the issue of the injustices faced by black people from the community in these systems on the political agenda.



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Concern over omission of race in new physical health screening guidance

20 June 2016

Improving_the_physical_health_of_people_with_MH_Problems_-_Action_for_nurses_May_2016With data showing that the life expectancy of patients living with a diagnosis of severe mental illness' is reduced by as much as 30 years, new guidance on ways to improve the physical health of this group is a step in the right direction. Experts from the UK's African Caribbean community have voiced concern at the absence of any reference to race or the need for cultural competency in this document, in light of the over representation of black people in this system, or a dedicated focus on Cancer, which is the second leading cause of death amongst this group.



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Policing and Crime Bill parliamentary debate to include BMH UK 's call for ban on Taser against detained patients

13 June 2016

House_of_Commons._4jpg

Calls by human rights campaigns group, Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK) for a ban on the use of Taser firearms against people detained on locked psychiatric wards, will be among amendments debated on the second day of report stage of the Policing and Crime Bill in the House of Commons on Monday 13th June 2016.



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