Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

As an organisation we are working to achieve positive change together with those who share our values and commitment.

Addressing issues of equality, discrimination, and diversity as they relate to mental health is fundamental to our mission. Amongst the communities we serve in southeast London, we know that experiences of racism, exclusion and poverty have led to the area having higher levels of mental illness than in comparative populations in the UK and across Europe. That knowledge drives our commitment to making change.

As an organisation we are working to achieve positive change together with those who share our values and commitment. We will use our influence to help shine a spotlight on equality and diversity and to embed these principals into both our organisation, and the projects and people we fund through our grants programme, guided by the framework of the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF). We work with our staff and Trustees, our partner organisations, and the communities we serve to better understand the difference we can make.

We recognise that there is a risk that organisations make statements around their commitments on DEI without committing to tangible action. We are on a journey of continuous learning where we regularly review our progress and make adjustments where necessary. We’ve adapted the ACF Pillars of Strong Foundations Practice for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to provide an overview of our work.

Full Position statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

About Maudsley Charity

We are the Maudsley Charity. We support patients and carers, clinical care teams and scientists who are working towards improving mental health. We fund ideas, big and small, that drive improvement and support people who experience mental illness.  

Why we’re here  When someone becomes ill, the effect on them, their friends and family can be life changing. It can happen to any of us. The consequences of mental ill health are far reaching – affecting employment, relationships, finances and even life expectancy. The Maudsley Charity exists to fund the people and projects striving to improve care, support recovery and prevent mental illness. 

Full statement

We believe that it’s our duty, and the duty of all responsible organisations, to have a clear and robust position on DEI. We acknowledge the value diversity brings in all its forms and recognise that as humans we are shaped in many different ways by our experiences. For Maudsley Charity, this goes beyond our responsibilities to be a good corporate citizen. Addressing issues of equality, discrimination, and diversity as they relate to mental health is fundamental to our mission.  

We believe better mental health for everyone has to mean understanding why some people are more likely to become ill and experience different standards or outcomes of care when, and if, they receive it. There is evidence that experiencing inequalities and discrimination has a causal effect on mental illness.  

We recognise that these are complicated issues, and we do not have all the answers. We are committed to working inclusively to find the solutions.   

Our population in numbers

At a London level there are stark health inequalities across the capital, with healthy life expectancy varying between boroughs by as much as 15 and 19 years for men and women respectively (Greater London Authority 2017). The population is highly diverse, with more than 300 languages spoken and more than a third of residents being born outside the UK (Office for National Statistics 2013). 

Looking at our local area in more detail, the combined ethnicities for Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark (our main areas of operation) show 55% of people identify as white, and 45% as Black, Asian or minority ethnic, compared to 14% nationally (source: ONS and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust). 

There is clear evidence of gaps in the experience of different communities in relation to mental health services. For example, people from a black African or black Caribbean background are more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act, are more likely to be subjected to restrictive practices such as high dose antipsychotic medication, physical restraint and seclusion and are more likely to experience longer inpatient stays and more re-admissions (Ali et al 2007, Archie et al 2010, Bansal et al 2014).  

In relation to poverty, three of the four boroughs we serve are ranked in the bottom third of the UK’s index of multiple deprivation.  

People who live in deprived areas are more likely to need mental healthcare but less likely to access support and to recover following treatment (Public Health England 2019). There are well evidenced links between levels of deprivation and almost every major psychiatric disorder.  

Issues of ethnicity, social deprivation and mental health are interlinked in ways which require further research and focussed action at all levels.  

We serve a national and local population, our location population is a diverse community, with areas of significant deprivation. This means we have a particular focus on how poverty and discrimination on the basis of ethnicity impact on mental health. 

Our approach

We are committed to listening, learning and using our influence to help shine a spotlight on equality and diversity, and to embed these principles into both our organisation and the projects and people we fund through our programme. We are taking action in a number of ways including:  

  • In our governance and leadership 
  • As an employer 
  • In the choices of work we undertake and the projects we fund  
  • In the opportunities we can provide for influence and visibility  
  • In how we represent individuals and communities in our communications  

We are at the start of a journey and are committed to working with people who can provide the personal insight and the evidence we need to help us to learn and respond. We will do what it takes to create an environment for honest conversations and support our teams and partners to facilitate those conversations.  

We will engage people in a number of different ways including working with those we already fund to understand their own experiences. 

We will be guided by the framework and principals of the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) pillars which are designed to provide a robust framework for us to work to.  

We believe that this provides a rationale for our approach and a structured starting place for conversations.  

For clarity we will adopt the same terminology as the framework and use the definitions outlined on their website. We recognise the diversity of individual identities and lived experiences, and we accept that existing terminology may be imperfect or does not fully capture the racial, cultural, and ethnic identities that experience structural and systematic inequality. Whenever possible, we attempt to name individuals as they themselves prefer to be named. 

You can find out more about The Pillars of Strong Foundation Practice, which we will align our work to, by visiting: www.acf.org.uk/policy-practice/practice-publications/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-the-pillars-of-stronger-foundation-practice