3. Ensuring Equity and Equality
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing structural inequality in society. It has put some communities disproportionately at risk and has had a more adverse impact on the mental health of some groups of the population. We will take an approach that acknowledges the systemic inequality faced by people with protected characteristics and we will set out specific actions that we will take to address mental health inequalities on an individual and structural level. We will collaborate with the third sector to enhance their work with groups across the range of protected characteristics.
We also recognise the importance of taking an intersectional approach to equality, acknowledging that individuals may face multiple discrimination and marginalisation. This is particularly important as we consider the impact of mental ill health across the range of protected characteristics.
- 3.1 - Causes of Inequality. Building on the Equality Impact Assessments carried out on the Mental Health Strategy 2017-27, we will continue to work with equalities and mental health organisations to look at the causes of mental health inequality at a structural and individual level. This will include specific consideration of the mental health impacts on LGBTI and minority ethnic groups. We will act on, and address, the issues identified.
- 3.2 - Equality Stakeholder Forum. We will establish an Equality Stakeholder Forum for Mental Health. This Forum will inform the implementation of this Plan, and provide advice on wider equalities work within mental health policy.
- 3.3 - Rural Isolation. Although there are many positives about rural life, we also recognise that there can be challenges relating to rural isolation. These may be increasingly felt by those in remote communities as a result of the pandemic. In partnership with the National Rural Mental Health Forum, we will develop an approach to ensure that these communities have equal and timely access to mental health support and services, including consideration of whether dedicated pathways are needed.
- 3.4 - Data Collection. We will continue our work with NHS Boards and IJBs to improve data collection across protected characteristics, and will use this to improve accessibility of services.