Commissioning and providing mental health advocacy for African and Caribbean men

Making change

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

2. Service development

3. Capacity-building

4. Facilitating access

Link: Department of Health: Mental health policy implementation guide: community development workers for black and minority ethnic communities: final handbook

Link: Departmentof Health: Community development workers (CDW’s) for black and minority ethnic communities: education and training supplementary guidance