An independent review from the NHS Race & Health Observatory of services provided by NHS Talking Therapies has identified that psychotherapy services need better tailoring to meet the needs of Black and minoritised ethnic groups.
Ten years of anonymised patient data found that historically, people from Black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds have experienced poorer access to, and outcomes from, NHS talking therapies. Over this time period, compared to White British groups, they are less likely to access services, tend to wait longer for assessment and to access treatments.
The data also showed that poor outcomes were faced by people from South Asian communities, in particular Bangladeshi groups. People of mixed ethnicity, mostly White and Black Caribbean, are the least likely to access these services.
The comprehensive assessment review was undertaken in partnership with the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH).
It noted poor outcomes can be tackled and even disappear when access is improved, and culturally sensitive therapy is provided. People from Black African backgrounds using IAPT services were sometimes more likely to improve and recover in comparison with White British people.
It calls on commissioners, clinicians, and healthcare organisations to address ethnic health inequalities. This can be done by improving resources and training to enhance understanding of mental health inequality, and by recruiting culturally sensitive and ethnically diverse therapists.