Black Christians to Advise MPs on Mental Health Bill

A parliamentary briefing on the impact that the 2006 Mental Health Bill will have on African Caribbean communities will be held at Westminster on 1 May at the House of Commons.

Leaders from some of the UK's largest black church groups have added their voices to the growing number of human rights and campaigns groups concerned over the Government's handling of the 2006 Mental Health Bill.

Rev Pedro Okorro, chair of ACEA and Pastor Adegboyega Omooba founder of Christian Concern for Our Nation, are among the leaders who have added their support to the campaign group Black Mental Health UK who are hosting the briefing at Westminster.

"The excessive use of the current 1983 Mental Health Act has led to a crisis within the Black community," Black Mental Health UK said. "As the 2006 Mental Health Bill is currently drafted this crisis will get a lot worse."

Hosted by the human rights campaign group Black Mental Health UK in association with The 1990 Trust, the meeting will inform MPs on the changes that need to be made to the Bill in order to address the "widespread discrimination within mental health services" which health campaigners say "has destroyed a generation of black Britons".

African Caribbean communities have detention rates that are 44 per cent higher than British White people, BMH UK has said.

"This means that almost every black family in this country will be affected by this law. This issue is too important for the Government not to listen and take on board our concerns," Matilda MacAttram, director of Black Mental Health UK said.

The expert panel will include Sarah Tether MP for Brent East, who will chair the Black Mental Health UK briefing, Pedro Okorro, chair of African Caribbean Evangelical Alliance and solicitor, Chinyere Inyama, Mental Health Review Tribunal president and mental health lawyer, Lee Jasper, chair African Caribbean Mental Health Commission and race advisor to the Mayor of London, Prof Suman Fernando, consultant psychiatrist, lecturer and member of the National BME Mental Health Alliance, Pastor Ade Omooba, founder Coherent and Cohesive, Andy Bell, chair Mental Health Alliance and Matilda MacAttram, director of Black Mental Health UK.