Lewisham councillors have vowed to hold the Mayor’s “feet to the fire” over Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME)  mental health inequalities following concerns work has not progressed quickly enough.

A BAME Mental Health Summit was held last October, chaired by Mayor Damien Egan.

Addressing mental health inequalities is part of Lewisham’s corporate plan.

Summit attendees highlighted priority areas in BAME mental health, Kenneth Gregory, joint commissioning lead for adult mental health at Lewisham CCG and Lewisham Council, said.

These themes went back to the health and well-being board, which consulted with the Lewisham Bame Network.

And work to address BAME children and young people’s access to mental health would be considered next month at the children and young people committee.

But members of the healthier communities select committee were concerned over the length of time the work was taking.

Councillors have called for a one-off joint meeting of the healthier communities and children and young people select committees to be attended by cabinet members and the mayor.

Cllr Aisling  Gallagher said: “This is taking a very, very, very long time. Considering that we have a meeting in June why has this taken this length of time?”

This was amid “very serious” and “distressing” statements from BAME residents about their access to health services, Cllr Coral Howard said.

“This is the kind of thing that makes people feel there is discrimination.

“Those things need to be highlighted and plans made,” she added.

Committee chair Cllr John Muldoon said someone needed to be held accountable for the work.

“The mayor has made public statements and we must hold his feet to the fire on that.

“Part of the issue is…who is responsible in cabinet for this? I don’t think we are getting the answers.

“Someone has to be accountable,” he added.

Cllr James Rathbone said there has been a lot of committee meetings “but not a lot of action.”

“There is only so much good will around the issue,” he said.

“Promises were made in our manifesto. People are going to want those promises to be kept.”

Mr Gregory insisted they had been working on the issue, but first had to build up trust with the BAME community.

“We have to assure people we are listening,” he said.

“It is a longer term piece of work.”

A South London and Maudsley NHS trust report shows BAME young people in Lewisham gain less access to child and adolescent mental health services services than their peers by 12 per cent.

People that categorise themselves as Black are overrepresented in crisis and psychosis care pathways within the community and inpatient services.