Public meeting: Mental Health & Policing, post the Sean Rigg Inquest

Tuesday, 02 July 2013

Date: Tuesday 2 July 2013

The third in a series of community engagement seminars post the Sean Rigg Inquest run by human rights campaigns group Black Mental Health UK (BMHUK) in partnership with South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) will be held in Lewisham on Monday 8 July 2013.

Taking place from 6.30-8.30pm at The Civic Suite, Lewisham Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6, this free public meeting has been organised to provide a forum where the community will hear firsthand about the changes that have been made in the way services are provided by SLaM, whose remit covers Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon since the Rigg inquest last year.

These areas of London are particularly important to BMH UK as they are also home to the largest numbers of people from the UK's African Caribbean communities in the UK who are subject to detention under the Mental Health Act in far greater numbers than any other group.

The Sean Rigg Inquest hearing back in 2012 put a spotlight on the issue of policing and mental health, and highlighted many concerns held across the community over the high police involvement with vulnerable black patients when accessing mental health care and the highly coercive treatment they are subject to by health providers once they are in the system.

This event will attempt to answer some of the questions raised by this case and update the community on what changes have been made in order to improve the patient experience and community relations.

Themes to be discussed include:

• Policing, Mental Health & Black Britain - transparency and accountability

• •Control and restraint - de-escalation initiatives

• Improving community relations and restoring trust in the services

• Places of safety - alternatives to police custody: Health based and community based places of safety what is needed to make this a reality.

Organisers of this event are keen to ensure this event includes a range of voices – in particular service users, carers, local stakeholders, voluntary and partner organisations to contribute discussions in addition to panel contributions

Marci Rigg one of the speaker at this event, from the Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign said: 'It's a year exactly since Sean's inquest started, and I think it is very important for the community to be fully updated on the issues surrounding mental health and policing since the jury's damning narrative verdict into my brother's death. This meeting will provide the only forum that I am aware of where the community will be updated on what progress made on the recommendations set out in the Coroners Rule 43 report in this case. What SLAM and the police have to prove to the Rigg family and community at large is that those recommendations are fully implemented so we never see a death like we have in my brother case again,'

Matilda MacAttram director, Black Mental Health UK said: 'No service that is providing health care or that is paid to protect and serve a community should be viewed with fear and suspicion, but this is sadly the legacy that the Sean Rigg Inquest has highlighted. It will take a lot of work, time, commitment and resources to begin to restore this community's faith in both services. This free public community event where statutory mental health services and the police are able to update the community on what work has been done since the Sean Rigg inquest is part of this effort'.

End

Event Title: Post Sean Rigg Public Community Seminar

Date: Monday 8 July 2013

Time: 6.30 – 8.30

Venue: The Civic Suite, Lewisham Town Hall, Catford Road, London SE6 4RU

For directions visit:http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/Pages/default.aspx

To register for this event: email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel 020 7152 4090

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.

- Deaths of those detained under the Mental Health Act account for 62% of all deaths in state custody

- A disproportionate number of deaths following contact with the police since 2004 are of black people.

- People from the UK's African Caribbean communities are over represented among those who lose their lives while in police custody or when detained under the Mental Health Act.

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