Improving Access to Mental Health Services for BME Communities November 2011

BME communities problems in accessing mental health services that meet their needs persist. Many voluntary organisations that came into existence because of this unmet need have either vanished or are struggling despite the promises of the Big Society.

The Sikh Community and Youth Service in Birmingham are aiming to develop a Level 2 qualification  to assist people working in support of those with mental health problems or are at risk of falling ill be able to recognise distress across cultures and target appropriate support.

A meeting was held at SCYS and was attended by staff of Rethink, Birmingham Metropolitan College and Ashraya House. Another was at the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust HQ in Birmingham. A representative of a General Practice gave apologies. It was felt that it would be necessary to follow this up given the GPs would be leading on commissioning services. Matters discussed included the need for such a qualification and who might wish to take such a qualification. Birmingham Metropolitan Staff would like to see a module within their more general course. Lakhvir Rellon of BSMHT referred to such a course of study addressing "cultural competence." 

Plans are to meet a local General Practitioner and staff leading on mental health services to discuss who might benefit from the qualification in their practice, or other groups working with them. Contact has also been made with Professor Swaran Singh of Warwick University.

We welcome other comments.