Mental health crisis review – experiences of black and minority ethnic communities

Author: Jeraj, Samir, Shoham, Tara and Islam-Barrett, Farah

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: June 2015

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Research over a number of decades has shown black and minority ethnic people are over-represented in crisis mental health services. The Race Equality Foundation was commissioned by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to conduct a series of interviews and focus groups with black and minority ethnic people, in specific areas, who had experience of crisis care. These areas were: Ealing, Lambeth, Northampton, Sandwell and Southampton.

Focus groups and interviews were carried out in the five mental health trust areas between August and November 2014. Participants were recruited through local voluntary sector organisations. A total of 76 people took part in focus groups and/or interviews facilitated by local organisations, who carried out recruitment. Several of the people from focus groups were also interviewed on their own to gain a better insight into their experience. Consent was obtained from participants at the sessions and all the names of people interviewed for this report have been changed to protect their identity.

Some people had experienced crisis a few days before (one person provided an interview on behalf of a client who was currently in detention) and some had last used crisis care more than two years ago. The youngest participant was in their 20s and the eldest in their 90s. 45 men and 31 women took part. Participants came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds: 32 were from Black or African Caribbean heritage, 26 of Asian heritage, four defined as being of dual or mixed heritage, three were White British, with one each from Irish, Eastern European and mainland European backgrounds. Eight did not provide details. The Eastern European community was particularly challenging for us to access, despite being the largest ethnic minority group in some areas.