The prevalence of mental ill-health is significantly higher in LGBT+ communities, disabled people, Deaf people, and those with experience of the criminal justice system. And the issue is compounded by services that do not understand and meet their specific needs.
- 40 per cent of LGBT+ people experience mental health issues, compared to 25 per cent of the general population. Deaf people and disabled people experience similar prevalence.
- A fifth of recently-released prisoner deaths by suicide occur within the first 28 days after release.
- Only 17 per cent of people were offered any emotional support at the time of the diagnosis of their long-term physical health condition or disability.
- People bereaved by suicide are at greater risk of attempting to or taking their own lives by up to 300 per cent.
Over the last year, the London Assembly Health Committee has examined the problems facing these four marginalised groups in the capital. A report was published on Tuesday 30 January identifying what needs to be done to ensure that all Londoners receive the help they need to live mentally healthy lives.
The report recommends:
- Reviewing the progress of Thrive LDN to make sure it is reaching marginalised groups.
- Ensuring people from marginalised groups are given more of a say in how mental health services are designed and delivered.
- Broadening the availability of diversity and inclusion training to focus on LGBT+ people, disabled people and Deaf people.
- Reviewing the membership of the London Health Board to ensure that third sector organisations and groups representing marginalised communities are represented.
- Producing a suicide audit tool or template for identifying and addressing gaps in the data that is currently collected.
- Addressing how the specific needs of the identified groups are being considered in the development of the Mayor’s housing and employment policies.
Chair of the Health Committee, Dr Onkar Sahota AM, said:
“Marginalised groups continue to bear an undue proportion of mental ill health in London, through a lack of access to timely, appropriate and acceptable support.
We welcome the Mayor’s focus on mental health in London and the encouraging beginning that has been made through the development of Thrive LDN. But addressing mental health inequalities will not happen overnight and raising awareness of the issue will not be enough on its own.
It is vital that new efforts are made to identify and reach out to people who are currently excluded from accessing the support they need.”