On 4th July 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion from Lord Bird “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the role of job security and reducing inequality in tackling the prevalence of mental illness.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Bird, for bringing forward this debate, for his distinctive introduction of a kind that we always enjoy when he speaks in the House, and for his tireless work in trying to support people who, for all sorts of reasons, find themselves disadvantaged. I pay tribute to him.
Inequality, unemployment and mental ill health are three interconnected, intersecting areas which are important to address if we are to have a flourishing and thriving society in which all can participate. As we know, mental ill health is one of the two main disabilities affecting participation in work. I am glad that the Government have decided that the NHS long-term plan will assist people with mental health issues into work. That plan recognises that mental health problems disproportionately impact on people living in poverty and those who face various forms of discrimination. This is a huge step forward in the visibility and awareness of this issue, and I hope that it really will help us move ahead.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans on links between inequality, unemployment and mental ill health”
On 9th May 2019 Lord Holmes of Richmond asked the Government “what steps they are taking to increase diversity in public appointments”. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I am conscious that these Benches may not embody everyone’s image of diversity. None the less, I was pleased to lead the final stages of the process by which these Benches were opened to women as well as men, although none of them is here today. I have also been chairing for the last five years a process within the Church where we are tasked with increasing the proportion of BME people in senior roles in the life of the Church. We have made some modest progress, though there is lots still to do. Nevertheless, we have learned that while legislation and processes are important, as has been indicated, so are culture, attitudes and bias. I wonder whether the Government might welcome some kind of forum within which quasi-public bodies might engage with public bodies so that we can share our learning on these matters. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester suggests shared learning forum to improve diversity in public appointments”
On the 6th of September 2018 the House of Lords debated the motion ‘that this House takes note of NHS and healthcare data and how that data could be used to improve the health of the nation.’ The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I too express appreciation to the noble Lord, Lord Freyberg, for securing a debate on a subject so full of possibilities for enriching our knowledge and improving the lives of fellow citizens. In England alone the National Health Service deals with more than 1 million patients every 36 hours. The potential use of data is enormous.
The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Carlisle, who takes a special interest in health matters, is particularly sorry not to be able to participate in this debate. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Bethell, on the quality of his maiden speech. I was, furthermore, particularly grateful for the wisdom of the noble Lord, Lord Kakkar, who spoke from his great expertise in this field. My focus is on mental healthcare data, which was recently highlighted in the Church of England’s toolkit on minority ethnic mental health issues, launched at our General Synod in July.
Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark raises concern at mental health care disparities based on ethnicity”
On 28th November 2017 Lord Boateng led a debate in the House of Lords “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in improving mental health services for people from black and ethnic minority communities.” The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I, too, am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Boateng, for securing this debate and, like the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, pay tribute not only to his eloquent introduction but to all he has done in this area. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.
Some of the evidence which has already been cited—there is lots more— concerning black and minority-ethnic individuals and mental health is a dreadful indictment of our society. One of the most shocking statistics to me is that UK minority-ethnic individuals are 40% more likely than white Britons to come into contact with mental health services through the criminal justice system rather than through referral from GPs or talking therapies. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester says church can help society improve mental health services for black and ethnic minority communities”
On 10th October 2017 a Government statement about the new race disparity audit was repeated in the House of Lords, the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, responded to the statement:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, although, let me be clear, the Church of England has nothing to teach anyone else on this subject—our record is not a good one—in the diocese of Chelmsford, where I serve, which includes the east London boroughs, which have some of the most diverse communities in Europe, we have found that of course there is racism and xenophobia but there is also what has been explained to me as unconscious bias.
It is not quite the same as racism; it is those things which prevent us from seeing each other as clearly as we need to. Both in the Church of England generally and in the diocese where I serve, we have done a lot of training over the past couple of years to help people to see their own unconscious bias towards people, and this is already bearing fruit in the church context with black and global majority people coming forward into positions. I wondered whether the Government had looked at that both for us and in wider society to try to move the debate on beyond the binary thing of, “Somebody is a racist or they are not”. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford responds to Government statement on race disparity audit”
On 13th June 2016 Baroness Meacher asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether they have any plans to review their drug policies in the light of the United Nations statements at the UN General Assembly Special Session on 19-21 April.” The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I note the Minister’s disinclination to institute a review. None the less, I wonder whether he could assure the House that in some context or other, attention is being given to such matters as the information in a report by the charity Release published in 2013, which shows that black people were stopped and searched for drugs at more than six times the rate of white people, despite successive crime surveys showing that drug use in black communities is at a lower rate than in white communities? Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester raises disproportionate use of stop and search against black people”