Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 6 Issue 5 (December 1996), Pages fmi-fmi, i-i, 311-414

Developing Black Mental Health Provision: Challenging Inequalities in Partnership (pages 335-340)


This article describes and comments upon the process of developing the Sanctuary project in London, a project that will provide two community‐based crisis support services for African and African‐Caribbean women and men in mental crisis and distress. This initiative is informed by the extensive research documenting the ways in which mainstream, mental health services fail Black people, and by evidence suggesting that innovations in service provision for Black people are often vulnerable and limited in their impact. In an effort to avoid replicating these problems, considerable emphasis has been given to developing the project in partnership with the main stakeholders—in this instance statutory and Black voluntary sector agencies as well as Black users, carers and community members. Within this context, issues relating to inequalities can be proactively addressed, thereby reducing the risk that they undermine the effectiveness of service provision at a later stage. However, working in partnership can also hinder or delay service developments if discussions between stakeholders become protracted or conflicts unresolved. The author draws on experience gained from this project to identify the potential as well as the difficulties of using a partnership approach to developing effective Black mental health provision. The author's role in the development of these projects has been as representative of one of the partners, the King's Fund Centre for Development.

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