Members of black and minority ethnic (BME) groups face barriers to mental health services because of a communication breakdown between healthcare users and providers, and cultural factors, such as an inability to accept mental health problems and stigma.
Those are the key findings from a new study by Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), run jointly by Brighton and Sussex universities.
Professor Anjum Memon, who led the study, said: “We already knew that mental health services are not meeting the needs of BME communities. Our study has identified a number of barriers that these groups are facing – both from within their community and through the service provision process. Until such barriers are counteracted, BME communities will continue to miss out on mental health support.”
He said the prevalence of common mental disorders varies markedly in different BME communities: More than twice as many south Asian women are diagnosed with anxiety and depression as white women (63.5% vs 28.5%), and psychotic disorders are more than ten times more prevalent among Afro-Caribbean men than white men (3.1% vs 0.2%).
“Use of mental health services also varies widely, with people from ethnic minorities less likely than their white British counterparts to contact their GP about mental health issues, be prescribed antidepressants or referred to specialist mental health services.”