BBC Radio London discussing deaths in police custody.

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BBC Radio London looks at spate of service user deaths after police restraint PDF Print E-mail

By Staff Writer                                         25/09/10 bbc_radio_london_2.jpg
The shocking news of two black men who lost their lives after being restrained by police under the Mental Health Act, will be one of the issues  discussed on BBC Radio London this Sunday 26th September 2010, from 8.00 – 10.00 pm.

Adebayo discusses disturbing service user deaths
This weekend’s show will be hosted by presenter Dotun Adebayo and can be heard live by tuning into 94.9FM or on digital radio and online.

Matilda MacAttram of Black Mental Health UK will be one of the guests in the studio looking at how the consistent failures within mental health services when treating people from Briton’s African Caribbean communities is now literally costing lives.

On the 31st of August 2010, Olaseni Lewis, a 23-year-old  Master Graduate from Kingston University and Colin Holt, 52-year-old from Gillingham, Kent both suffered fatal injuries after they restrained by police in separate incidents.

No history of mental illness
Lewis, had no history of mental illness but was admitted as a vulnerable voluntary patient at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham early in the evening of Tuesday 31 August. Hospital staff called the police into the hospital to restrain him.

A team of up to seven officers pinned the 23-year old down until his lost consciousness and fell into a coma. He was taken to Mayday Hospital where he was confirmed brain dead on September 3. His life support was switched off the following day.

Holt was also suffered fatal injuries after he was restrained by officers, who went to his home after hospital staff had called the police and reported him missing.

Lewis and Colt are the latest in a series of black men who have died in similar circumstance. Other cases include Sean Rigg, Fitz Frances, Mikey Powell, Roger Sylvester, David Bennett, Christopher Alder, Andrew Jordan, and Rose Winston.

‘These deaths make it clear that the use of prone restraint on mental health service users needs to be phased out and more human way of deescalating volatile incidences found. Hospital staff should not be relying on crime fighting agencies to dea with people who are unwell. It not only criminalises them, but in far too many people is leading to the loss of life,’ Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said.

Way black service users are treated is of great concern
‘It not just restraint but the way in which both hospital staff and the police treat people from the community who are in need of mental health care that is of great concern.

Five years after the launch the Bennett Inquiry report and the million pound Delivery Race Equality Programme this  should not be the case,’ MacAttram added.

This evenings show marks the latest in a number of programmes where BBC Radio London has put the spotlight on the issue of mental health and the treatment of black people who come in contact with the services.
Previous shows have focused on the shocking inequalities highlighted in the Count Me In Census report, on ethnicity and mental health.
The census report is part of the Delivering Race Equality programme, which is the Government’s response to the David Bennett Inquiry report. Year on year the census findings show that detention rates under the Mental Health Act increase for Briton’s African Caribbean communities while falling for the rest of the population.

Health experts from the community have also voiced grave concerns about this as there is no credible evidence to show that black people have higher rates of mental illness than any other ethnic group.

Tune into  BBC Radio London’s 94.9FM this Sunday 26 September from 8.00 – 10.00pm to hear more about one of the most major  issues affecting black Briton’s today

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