Community CAMHS: Black Lives Matter Statement.

Community CAMHS (FirstSteps and CAMHS Disability) is against anti black racism. We are committed to our values of equality, respect and fairness for groups and individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life. The tragic murder of George Floyd in the USA parallels the inequality and systemic racism which sadly also exists within the UK. We recognise these injustices and their significant impact on our diverse community of colleagues, young people and their families within the City of London and Hackney. 

We acknowledge that individuals from Black heritage communities have unfortunately suffered negative experiences at times in this country. The current statistics provide us with an equally sad and infuriating picture of inequality. Black people are more likely to die in police custody than white people and it is therefore highly important to remember individuals such as Christopher Adler, Sean Rigg, Mark Duggan, Rashan Charles and others who have also sadly lost their lives in these circumstances in this country. 

From a wellbeing, neurodisability and mental health perspective, we are aware of a number of factors which disproportionately impact the overall wellbeing of individuals from Black heritage backgrounds. To name a few, young people from black origins are significantly more likely to be excluded from school and more likely to be arrested, or ‘stopped and searched’ than individuals of white origins. Black people are more likely to be detained under the mental health act and be committed to secure mental health units. In addition, black people are more likely to access mental health services via the criminal justice service compared to white people. These issues of systemic racism in our country (and many more not listed) adversely and unfairly impact the wellbeing of black individuals in our community. 

We are also aware and acknowledge the under-representation of Black heritage staff within Community CAMHS; this is something which may have implications for accessing our services and a sense of the feeling of being understood by the clinicians our families work with. We are also aware of possible mistrust which may be felt towards services from some individuals from black backgrounds and the complex issues of power held by the professional, especially when they are white. We will continue to address these issues and carefully consider ‘whiteness’ within our own organisation in order to ensure addressing racism within mental health remains high on our agenda.

We are making this statement as an acknowledgement of the issues surrounding mental health and wellbeing for groups and individuals from the black community, but more crucially, to commit to making real improvements .We are actively addressing these issues within our own organisation and partner relationships through CAMHS Alliance.  Community CAMHS Homerton is committed to improving the wellbeing of all children, young people and their families within the City of London and Hackney. For this reason we will systemically address issues of race, inequality and discrimination. 

Whilst we are aware of treating this issue with the urgency it requires, we also acknowledge the importance of taking the time to reflect, listen and learn from the staff, young people and their families that we work with. We will continue to have these highly important ongoing conversations which will inform and drive action for significant change in tackling racial inequalities in our mental health provision for our black community. 

We thank you for you time in reading this statement and we hope to keep you updated with the steps we are taking to address these issues. 

Community CAMHS Homerton: First Steps and CAMHS Disability

Publication: NHS Digital (2017) Mental Health Act Statistics, Annual Figures: 2016-17 Rates of detention under the Mental Health Act for black individuals were over four times the rates of detention for white individuals

Publication: Race Equality Foundation (2019) Racial disparities in mental health: Literature and evidence review Black people are 40% more likely than white people to access mental health services via the criminal justice system.

Publication: Equality and Human Rights Commission (2010) Stop and think: A critical review of the use of stop and search powers in England and Wales Black people are at least 6 times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people. Between the years 2007/2008 this was as high as 60 times more likely.

Publication:Demie (2019) The experience of Black Caribbean pupils in school exclusion in England. Educational Review. Black Caribbean boys are almost four times more likely to be permanently excluded and two times more likely to receive fixed term exclusions than the combined school population.

Publication: Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology, Equal Opportunities data (2018)In 2018, 80.9% of successful applicants for the Clinical Doctorate in Psychology were white (this is the doctorate required to become a clinical psychologist)