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Still some way to go in tackling racism in mental health care

on, even after socioeconomic and diagnostic differences are taken into account.

These disparities reflect the way health services offer care according to racial group, and seem to satisfy the well established and widely known definition of institutional racism.

In response, a systems level approach called "Delivering race equality" has been developed to improve mental health services. This could improve services but leadership is needed to ensure that it is taken up, say the authors.

But there is a danger that its impact will be undermined by other government policy, such as the proposed amendments to the Mental Heath Bill, and there are also wider questions about whether treatment is being offered and delivered effectively.

The Count me in census and other research indicate that institutional discrimination does occur and that services have some way to go before the challenges of our multicultural society, they write. "If the concept of institutional racism had been more widely accepted and acted on, the Department of Health might not now be facing a formal investigation by the Commission for Racial Equality," they conclude.


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
44-020-738-36529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
29-Mar-2007


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