New role to champion equality in mental health services for Sheffield African Caribbean community

We have teamed up with our partners at Sheffield African Caribbean Mental Health Association (SACMHA) and Sheffield Flourish to introduce a new Race Equity Officer role which will champion race equality in mental health services for people in the African Caribbean community living in the city.

The role will work across NHS mental health services in the city, including inpatient wards and in community services, and focus on two key areas of improvement.

The first will be to work with patients, carers, family members and staff on the city’s mental health inpatient wards to address the use of restrictive practice.

Currently people from ethnically diverse backgrounds are more likely to be restrained while staying on a mental health inpatient ward. The second area of focus will be on suicide prevention in men from the African and Caribbean community.

According to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) nearly 5,000 people took their own life in 2020, with men more than three times more likely to die by suicide in England than women.

Currently the ethnicity of people who take their own lives is not recorded or reported on and this new role will look at recording accurate data in this area to help inform future work on suicide prevention.

Salli Midgley, Director of Quality at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are really excited to be working with SACMHA and Sheffield Flourish to introduce this important role to Sheffield. We want to ensure that all of our services are welcoming, culturally appropriate and equal to all, and the new Race Equity Officer role will work with us to identify areas of improvement and help us improve outcomes for everyone. We have worked closely with SACMHA and Sheffield Flourish over the past few years to help develop our restrictive practice training for staff and we are really looking forward to continuing to work together to make the care we provide the very best it can be.”

David Bussue, Service Director at SACMHA said: “We’re immensely pleased to be jointly addressing these two real challenges for our community. We’re also thrilled to be further enhancing the work we do jointly with the Trust. From the point of view of the people we’re privileged to support, it’s critical that organisations like the Trust collaborate with us with the shared goal of making a real difference in vulnerable people’s lives.”

Josie Soutar, Managing Director at Sheffield Flourish said: “This is such an important project, making Sheffield more mental health friendly for everyone who lives here. It really highlights the importance and value of working in partnership if we want to truly tackle the inequalities in our city.”

A bit more about the role

In the video below Salli Midgley, Director of Quality at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, and David Bussue, Service Director at SACMHA, talk about the new role and what it will mean for people in Sheffield. 


woman medic, clinician, looking at camera, smiling broadly