Centre for Mental Health today launched an 18-month Commission to investigate inequalities in mental health and make recommendations to reduce them. The Commission for Equality in Mental Health will explore some of the biggest inequalities in mental health in the UK and seek workable, long-term solutions to reduce and if possible eradicate them.

The Commission, generously funded by the Elliott Simmons Charitable Trust, will seek evidence widely about inequalities in both the extent of poor mental health among different groups and communities and the different experiences of care and support that people get. It will investigate what can be done to prevent or reduce these inequalities, and will make recommendations for government, local authorities, public services and civil society for change. And it will explore why so many of the biggest inequalities in mental health have been so intractable for such a long time despite being widely acknowledged.

The Centre is now seeking applications for Commission members. We are looking for people with both lived and professional experience of inequalities in mental health to join the Commission and make use of the evidence we gather to set the agenda for a fairer and more just future for mental health in the UK. We will also be partnering with organisations that have specialist knowledge and expertise in mental health inequalities, including the Mental Health Foundation.

Centre for Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said: “There are some stark and shocking inequalities in mental health in Britain today. We know that the poorest children are four times as likely to have a mental health difficulty as the wealthiest. We know that Black people are many times more likely to be subject to the Mental Health Act. And we know that people with autism, learning disabilities and long-term physical health problems have higher rates of mental ill health that are often never even identified.

There are some stark and shocking inequalities in mental health in Britain today.

“We are setting up the Commission for Equality in Mental Health to look at a range of inequalities and build up the evidence about what would help to reduce them. We will address the uncomfortable truths about these inequalities and why so little progress has been made in many areas in reducing them. We will work with partners to identify workable solutions both nationally and locally and to make the case for change where it is required to create a more equitable society for all.”