Commissioning and providing mental health advocacy for African and Caribbean men
Organisational arrangements - African and Caribbean mental health advocacy
Type: Stand-alone organisation
- Specialist knowledge of cultural, language, heritage and day-to-day issues.
- Awareness and shared experience of race issues and racism, including detailed knowledge of anomalies in care and treatment of black people in mental health services.
- Both of the above combine to enhance the extent that advocates and partners can identify with each other and form trusting, supportive advocacy relationships.
- More likely to be sensitively and/or conveniently located for benefit of relevant community.
- Connection and ownership by the community.
- Even an African and Caribbean focus may not fully recognise the diversity within African and Caribbean communities.
- Insecurities of funding commonplace, adversely affecting capacity.
- Limited capacity may, in turn, limit range of advocacy activities.
- Relative absence of second-tier advocacy organisations existing to promote services and build capacity.
Type: As part of an African and Caribbean mental health service (ACMHS)
- As above. Also co-location with other specific mental health provision facilitates personal development and recovery.
- Different approach enables advocacy to be picked up as part of a wider helping role, enhancing the quality of the alliance/relationship between client and caseworker.
- Relatively few such organisations exist in the broader picture of national mental health services. Those that do are often under-resourced or facing insecure futures.
- Separate services are in and of themselves a barrier to a more inclusive mainstream service.
- While well-placed to offer independent advocacy across mainstream mental health services, the ACMHS case workers face a problem of independence if the advocacy issue arises in their own service.
Type: As part of a mental health advocacy service
- As above.Capacity, and potentially choices, increased through access to a broader pool of advocates.
Profile within – and consequently ownership by – the community may be weaker.
Next in this section: Black and minority ethnic mental health advocacy