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Your spotlight on local services

Is there institutional racism in mental health care?



Media captionEche explains how he was Tasered when sectioned under the Mental Health Act

Black people are being failed by the UK's mental health services because of "institutional racism", it has been warned. How does this affect those who experience it?

When Eche Egbuonu, who has bipolar disorder, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, he should have been taken to a safe environment - usually a hospital - for a medical assessment.

Instead, he was taken straight to a police station.

"Being in the police cell was probably the worst thing they could have done to me in the state of mind that I was in," he tells the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Under the Mental Health Act, a person can be detained if they are considered to be suffering from a mental disorder and in immediate need of care or control.

Eche was released two days later. But shortly after, following an altercation at his home, his parents called the police.

This time, after he refused to go willingly, one of the officers used a Taser.

Eche says: "I'm in my room, and I'm like, 'I'm not going [with police].' The first time, I was compliant.

"Physically they tried to get me down, that didn't work. So they brought the Taser out, 50,000 volts.

"Before I know it, I'm back in handcuffs.

"It's made me more resistant and distrusting of the system in general because it felt like a prison experience. I feel like a criminal."

'17 times more likely'

The matter of black overrepresentation within the mental health system is a complex one.  For more please click on the link below