Dancing to Our Own Tunes: Reassessing Black and Minority Ethnic Mental Health Service User Involvement
Dancing to Our Own Tunes reports on the findings of a national consultation with service users/survivors from Black and minority ethnic communities and from White backgrounds on their experiences of "involvement,"both within statutory/voluntary sector organisations and within the mental health user/survivor movement. It makes a strong statement against tokenistic involvement initiatives that are simply about increasing "Black" faces in committees so that policy boxes can be ticked. The report highlights several barriers to meaningful involvement, including the overt and covert racism faced by people from minority ethnic backgrounds in these spaces. The report calls for a redefinition of user involvement that acknowledges the varied range of activities users and survivors from minority ethnic backgrounds are engaged in within their communities. The need now is to shift the locus of leadership to the communities whose involvement is being sought, support such initiatives and create a strong political voice that addresses not only mental health issues but also the racism that is prevalent within mental health services and within the society.