A new initiative aimed to improve cultural competence in social care and Mental Health services, endorsed by RCPsych Wales, was launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething AM on the 11th October 2018.
The BME Mental Health Workplace Good Practice Certification Scheme was developed by Diverse Cymru and is financially supported by Government as part of their Section 64 Third Sector Mental Health Grants 2018-2021. The scheme is also endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales and validated by the United Kingdom Investor in Equality and Diversity. The initiative has been designed for practitioners and professionals who work with BME communities in Wales to improve the accessibility and quality of social care and mental health services. It includes a range of tools and resources to help practitioners and professionals provide a culturally appropriate service that will help them assess and measure year-on-year the competency of the services they are providing. importantly, is both cost and resource , working on the basis of how simple changes in practice can make a world of difference to those trying to access social care and mental health services.
At the launch, Suzanne Duval, BME Mental Health Manager at Diverse Cymru, in giving the reason and rationale for the scheme said that:
“I’m thrilled by the endorsement from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the funding and support from the Welsh Government for this initiative which is the first of its kind in the UK. Research has shown that BME people are less likely to seek support for mental ill health at an early stage due to cultural barriers and so they access services much later, when their illness is more severe. Research has also shown that cultural appropriateness may be the most important factor in the accessibility of services by BME communities. Developing culturally sensitive practices can help reduce barriers to effective treatment”.
A view supported by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services who said that:
“Ethnic minority communities can sometimes encounter issues accessing appropriate healthcare they are not always aware of the services they are entitled to and how to access them. This Certification Scheme will assist mental health organisations and practitioners to ensure they develop culturally appropriate services to improve access to mental health services among ethnic minority communities.”
In further support of the scheme, Professor Keith Lloyd, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales who said that:
“Diverse Cymru provides valuable support for our NHS mental health services by providing a voice and support for people from BME communities in Wales. It’s intended that this resource will help support healthcare professionals with further relevant techniques and interventions to deliver an effective culturally competent, patient centred service.”
To date, there has been significant interest and take up of the scheme, which includes takeup by 6 of the 7 Welsh Health Boards, and another 7 voluntary/public sector organisations across Wales.