Westminster goes to Wolverhampton: National Conference on Policing, Mental health and black Briton

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Date: Thursday 27 June 2013

Minister of state Norman Lamb MP, shadow secretary of state for health Andy Burnham MP and the Metropolitan Police's lead on Mental Health Commander Christine Jones will be among the speakers at a national conference on policing, mental health and black Briton, taking place in the West Midlands this week.

Taking place at the Molineux Conference Centre in Wolverhampton on Thursday 27th June this landmark event marks the first ever public forum where the most senior political figures in both mental health and policing will be able to discuss this issue with leading professionals and those who use the services across the West Midlands and beyond.

Organised by the African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI) and human rights campaigns group, Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK) this event has been convened in the wake to the high profile Sean Rigg inquest and a number of other fatalities involving patients who have lost their lives at the hands of the police while detained under the Mental Health Act in recent times.

Data from the Count Me in Census' reports from 2005 - 2011 show of all ethnic groups it is people from the UK's African Caribbean communities that are 50% more likely to be referred to mental health services via the police than their white counterparts - entry to mental health services via police custody is the norm for black people.

People who use mental health services account for 50% of those who lose their lives in police custody. It is in the area of mental health and policing that many of the most serious causes for concern have arisen over a number of years but continue to remain unaddressed.

Professionals responsible for running or commissioning mental health services, who attend this conference, will learn first-hand what action needs to be taken to improve the treatment of this patient group.

Organisers of this conference believe that health professionals learning about what 'good looks like' for this client group is not only critical to seeing the number of preventable fatalities go down, but will ensure that senior management, clinicians and practitioners do not have to worry about the ramifications of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act.

Speaker at this event include:

Minister of State for Health Norman Lamb MP

Shadow Health Minister Andy Burnham MP

Metropolitan Police lead for Mental Health Commander Christine Jones

Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands (PCC) Bob Jones

Chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) David Prior

Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) Dame Anne Owers

Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Mental Health Charles Walker MP

Her Majesty's Coroner for East London at Walthamstow Coroners Court Chinyere Inyama

Services Director at the African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI), Alicia Spence

Director of Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK) Matilda MacAttram

Cousin of Mikey Powell who died while in police custody, while in need of mental health care in 2003, Tippa Naphtali

Pastor New Testament Church of God and mental health campaigner Rev Paul Grey

NHS England National Clinical Director of Mental Health Dr Geraldine Strathdee OBE

 

Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said: 'Today's national conference is groundbreaking achievement as there has never been a public forum where national leaders, professionals from both mental health and policing have been able to come together with the people from the UK's African Caribbean communities who routinely experience the harsh end of mental health services that all too often will involve the police. It is critically important the voice and experience of those who use these services are listened to by people at the highest level if we are to bring about the much needed change in how people in need of mental health care are treated by both services,' Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said.

Alicia Spence, services director at ACCI said: 'It is arena of mental health and policing that many of the most serious causes for concern have arisen over a number of years but continue to remain unaddressed and this is how black people are routinely entering mental health services. One of the things that ministers of state and many of the political leaders very rarely get to hear is the experience of those who use mental health services from our communities first hand. Today's conference offers just that,' Alicia Spence, services director at ACCI said.

For interviews call BMH UK Newsdesk on: M: 07947 189 682

Notes to the editor

- Black Mental Health UK is a human rights campaigns group established to address the over representation of African Caribbean's within secure psychiatric care and raise awareness to address the stigma associated with mental health.

- Detention rates for people from the UK's African Caribbean community have doubled over the past five years during the period of 2005 – 2010.

- Almost half the deaths of people in police custody are mental health service users.

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