Commissioning and providing mental health advocacy for African and Caribbean men
There are a number of developments that support the need for change in the provision of mental health advocacy to African and Caribbean men. These are:
Statutory provision of advocacy - see Mental Health Act 2007.
Delivering Race Equality - see Department of Health: Delivering race equality in mental health care.
Developments in commissioning, with the introduction of a duty for integrated needs assessment between local authorities and Primary care trusts, and a focus on outcome-led commissioning - see Department of Health: Commissioning framework for health and well-being.
Opportunities in relation to social enterprise - see Department of Health: Social Enterprise.
Community Development Workers (CDWs) are ideally placed to take this agenda forward at a local level, in partnership with black and minority ethnic (BME) communities and local commissioners. The role of CDWs may vary according to local community needs. Essentially they undertake four key functions relevant to development of advocacy. These are:
1. Acting as change agents
- Engaging communities in the process of identifying needs and developing advocacy provision.
- Identifying gaps in advocacy provision for BME communities.
- Identifying and supporting the development of innovative practice in the black and community voluntary sector (BCVS) and the advocacy sector.
2. Service development
- Strategy development for advocacy for BME communities.
- Facilitating partnership development.
- Identifying development and learning needs in relation to advocacy.
- Facilitating joint training.
- Enhancing capacity of BCVS to deliver advocacy.
4. Facilitating access
- Supporting the development of appropriate and accurate information about advocacy to BME communities.
- Working with mental health service and advocacy providers to understand the needs of African and Caribbean men in relation to advocacy.