How are you addressing health inequalities? - Clenton asks Jabeer

Jabeer Butt, Race Equality Foundation
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"Health inequalities is a topic close to my heart and thankfully the NHS Long Term plan goes some way to address it.

"But more action is needed, which is why I am thrilled that the Health Foundation has established the Collaboration for Wellbeing and Health to bring collective action and influence national policy further. 

"I invited Jabeer Butt, Chief Executive of the Race Equality Foundation to tell us more in the following guest blog.  My invitation extends to you - partners/sector colleagues to tell us what concerns you and what are you doing to combat health inequalities. Submit your blog ideas to me at"

Clenton Farquharson, TLAP Chair

Hakim's story by Jabeer Butt

Hakim experienced a life-changing trauma at the age of 12.  The impact of this trauma was never really addressed and as he became a young adult his mental health suffered.  At the same time he began to use illegal drugs, which brought him to the attention of the police and eventually saw him jailed overnight and ending up in a mental health unit.

This began a cycle with Hakim being released into the community, but with no support and no place to live quickly descending in to using illegal drugs and being picked-up by the police again. 

This cycle was eventually broken, when Hakim came across a flyer for a support service for Caribbean people with mental health problems.  Hakim was provided with a support worker, a place to live and his benefits sorted.  Whilst the impact of the trauma still needed to be addressed, Hakim’s life had now been stabilised, he was no longer using illegal drugs and no longer involved with the police.

Evidence suggests that Hakim’s experience is not unique.  Caribbean men appear to be at higher risk of poorer mental health.  At the same time they are less likely to receive the support they need to effectively manage their conditions.  As is the case for other people who experience discrimination, poverty, poorer housing, poor and unstable employment often combine to exacerbate inadequate health and care.  Often leading to worse experiences and outcomes.  Finding a solution that helps, appears to be by chance then because support is organised well.

The persistence of these inequalities has led the Health Foundation to establish the Collaboration for Wellbeing and Health to bring collective action to better address the social determinants of poorer health, such as housing, education and employment. 

Working with partners, including us at the Race Equality Foundation, the Collaboration plans to use an evidence-based cross-sector approach to reduce inequalities and improve wellbeing for all.  The Collaboration will inform national action by influencing government, but also impact at a neighbourhood level by helping implement what works.  There will be lessons for all of us trying to ensure that personalisation works for everyone.  Importantly, we can all contribute to ensuring improvements in experiences and outcomes are no longer by chance, but by design!


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