Sheffield: Call to tackle ‘systemic racism’ in mental health care

Hayley Brewer reports for the BBC:

A suicide survivor has said there are systemic issues with racism in the mental health system.

Gambinga Gambinga, 43, from Sheffield, said black people ‘have a rougher ride’ in getting support than white people.

NHS figures show a black person suffering with a mental health episode was nearly five times more likely than a similar white person to be detained.

The government said it was committed to ‘addressing racial disparities’ in mental health care.

Mental health charity Mind said the Mental Health Act ‘was systematically racist’ in its current form.

Mr Gambinga, who was born in Zimbabwe, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after moving to Sheffield in 2003 at the age of 24.

However, he said he did not get help until after his suicide attempt on New Year’s Eve 2015.

‘I was planning my death, but still seeing friends and family and having fun with them,'”‘ he said.

‘The scary part is how well I hid it. That’s the terrifying thought.

‘First and second-generation immigrants from Africa – we’re spectacular at hiding it.

‘It’s culture, it’s upbringing – that whole ‘man up, pull your socks up’, that kind of thing, but also because a lot of us have people back home that are depending on us’ …”

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