Research abstracts: Older people from ethnic minorities

TITLE: Positive Steps: Supporting race equality in mental health care

Compiled with the help of healthcare staff and service users, this resource can be used by anyone working in mental health, primary and social care. Every person, whatever their background, should expect to receive the same standard of care from mental health services. However, evidence suggests that this does not always happen and that the treatment experience of patients from different sections of the community can vary. For example, research confirms that ethnic minority service users have disproportionately high rates of admission to in-patient services and are more likely to experience detention, seclusion or restraint. Black patients are also likely to  report a worse experience of care in mental hospitals compared with other ethnic groups. The reasons for this situation are not fully understood.

TITLE: Community development workers for black and minority ethnic communities: final handbook
PUBLISHER: London, Department of Health, 2006

ABSTRACT: This guidance provides a framework for local health and social care systems to introduce community development workers for minority ethnic communities into the mental health workforce. The aim of introducing them is to enable greater understanding of the issues facing people from these groups so that real improvement takes place in the commissioning and provision of services across the full age range. The workers will ensure full participation and greater ownership in the development of health and social care, with minority ethnic communities themselves recognising their experiences. Several issues require further work and clarification, so this is interim guidance.

TITLE: Concepts and causation of depression: a cross-cultural study of the beliefs of older adults.
REFERENCE: Gerontologist, 46(1), 2006, pp2332

This UK study explored how older adults conceptualise depression. A multicultural approach was used that incorporated the perspectives of black Caribbean, south Asian, and white British older adults. The study sought to explore and compare beliefs about the nature and causes of depression, and to suggest ways in which these beliefs act to facilitate or deter older people from accessing treatment. Some 110 in-depth separate interviews were conducted with 45 white British, 33 south Asian, and 32 black Caribbean individuals. The interviews explored what the word “depression” meant to participants, and their beliefs regarding depression’s causes. White British and black Caribbean participants defined depression in terms of low mood and hopelessness; south Asian and black Caribbean participants often defined depression in terms of worry. Those receiving antidepressants were more likely to acknowledge psychological symptoms of depression. A social model of depression is  closer  to the beliefs of older people than the traditional medical model. Culturally appropriate inquiries about life events could be used in discussion about depression. Professionals need to be sensitive to the language used by different ethnic groups.



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