Black, Asian and minority ethnic people experience longer waiting times, and are less likely to be in recovery after treatment, when accessing NHS mental health services compared with their white counterparts, a report has found.
The research looked at 10 years’ worth of anonymised patient data from NHS Talking Therapies, formerly known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – an NHS programme that launched in 2008 to improve patient access to NHS mental health services. A total of 1.2 million people accessed NHS Talking Therapies services in 2021-22, and by 2024 the programme aims to help 1.9 million people in England with anxiety or depression to access treatment.
The report, Ethnic Inequalities in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, commissioned by the NHS Race and Health Observatory and undertaken by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, found that people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds were less likely to go on to have at least one treatment session, despite having been referred by their GP, than their white counterparts.
Dr Lade Smith, the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “For far too long we have known that people from minoritised ethnic groups don’t get the mental healthcare they need. This review confirms, despite some improvements, it remains that access, experience and outcomes of talking therapies absolutely must get better, especially for Bangladeshi people.
“There is progress, particularly for people from black African backgrounds, if they can get into therapy, but getting therapy in the first place continues to be difficult. This review provides clear recommendations about how to build on the improvements seen. I hope that decision-makers, system leaders and practitioners will act on these findings.”
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Source: The Guardian, 1 November 2023