Tracey Bignall, Senior Policy & Practice Officer
Diabetes is quite often one of the conditions that comes to mind when you mention young people’s health. It is true that Type 1 diabetes accounts for most of the diabetes in children and young people, and that type 1 diabetes is associated with other long term health issues such as, kidney disease. We also know that children and young people with type 1 diabetes living in the most deprived areas are more likely to have an emergency hospital admission. There is also inequality in how this type of diabetes is managed. There is evidence of inequality in the use of technology to help with type 1 diabetes. Black, Asian and minority ethnic children and those living in the most deprived areas are less likely to have access to interventions such as glucose monitors or insulin pumps to manage their diabetes than white young people.
When it comes to epilepsy, less is known from the young person’s perspective. Epilepsy is one of the most common conditions that can affect you from childhood. Yet those with the condition are also likely to develop a mental health condition alongside it. Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are less likely to be aware of epilepsy and how it manifests, which can impact on help seeking behaviour and engagement with services. It is likely that other factors such as faith beliefs, stigma, and fear of discrimination, affect how children and young people manage this condition in their every life.
But having an understanding of the impact of these conditions and how they are managed will help health practitioners to better support children and young people from these backgrounds.
So, what are we doing?
The Race Equality Foundation is working with the Association of Young People’s Health to better understand the experiences of young Black, Asian and minority ethnic people who have either Type 1 diabetes or epilepsy. We will talk to children and young people about different aspects of care, what affects how they manage their condition, and what would help them to manage it better. We are particularly interested in those with Type 1 diabetes whether and how they use technology to help them with their diabetes. For those with epilepsy, knowing what works best to communicate with them about the condition will add to what they tell us about their experience.
This work is being funded by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and we will produce a report about the children and young people’s experiences. Importantly, the report will include recommendations for improvements to the NHS and other support groups on how to ensure better care and support for Black, Asian and minority ethnic children and young people with these conditions.
Engagement on both projects through one-to-one interviews with young people is currently taking place until the end of June.
If you are interested in this work, or can suggest any young people to take part, contact Tracey Bignall at Race Equality Foundation for more information:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 07793 239567 www.raceequalityfoundation.org.uk