New hope on black schizophrenia care crisis

September 7, 2017 by Mike Addelman, University of Manchester

A groundbreaking talking treatment has been developed and successfully trialled with a group of black and minority ethnic (BME) schizophrenia service users, carers, community members and health professionals.

Dr Dawn Edge from The University of Manchester led a team that developed the model in a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) which she says could be a breakthrough for BME patients whose mental healthcare is both sub-optimal and costly for the NHS.

The , called Culturally-Adapted Family Intervention, or 'CaFI' for short, emerges in the context of decades of poor engagement between black communities and mental services.

People of African-Caribbean origin, including those of 'Mixed' heritage, are nine times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than White British people. Black Africans' risk of diagnosis is six times greater.

Having tried the new therapy, users, carers, therapists and service providers reported improved symptoms and better understanding and communication between patients, families, and services.

Dr Edge, a Senior Lecturer who is also the University of Manchester's Academic Lead for Equality Diversity and Inclusion, says racism, discrimination, adversity and alienation are key contributors to the problem.

She said: "People from BME communities tell us that the constant stress of racism and surviving in often hostile environments can make trigger mental illness.

"Moreover, when a black person is experiencing psychological distress, mental health services are often unable to distinguish between their responses to everyday stressors and illness, compounding the problem.

"Not surprisingly, African-Caribbeans and people from other BME backgrounds are often reluctant to engage with mental health services as they do not think they will be understood or treated fairly.

"In consequence, they tend to come into contact with services much later in their illness, often in a state of crisis, involving the police and being 'sectioned' under the Mental Health Act. Once in services, their care is more likely to be coercive than White British peoples.

"For example, black patients are much more likely to be held in seclusion, forcibly given medication and regularly readmitted.

"On average, they remain in hospital twice as long as White British people and are more likely to be discharged on costly Community Treatment Orders (CTOs)."

Dr Edge added, "We have demonstrated that it is possible to develop this treatment and to improve African-Caribbean patients' and families' engagement with mental health services.

"We now need to test CaFI nationally to see if it delivers better outcomes and is cost-effective in comparison to usual treatment.

"This is the first time that a psychological therapy, specifically designed to meet the needs of this community, has been developed, which is intriguing given that this is one of the most long-standing challenges facing .

"To me, equitable access to effective mental healthcare is a social justice issue. Moreover, family-focused psychological care makes good economic sense. It reduces NHS and social care costs not just for service users but also for carers."

The research to develop and test the new treatment was conducted over three years at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

CaFI was trialled with 26 family units, of which 24 completed all 10 therapy sessions. Half the service users who took part had no contact with their families –and were given the support of 'care coordinators, friends or from a range of ethnic backgrounds.

Explore further: Mental health nurses under 'intolerable pressure'

Related Stories

Mental health nurses under 'intolerable pressure'

January 27, 2016
Mental health nurses are facing huge pressures because cuts and merging of services are causing a strain on services not seen since the 1980s, according to Alan Simpson, a Professor of Collaborative Mental Health Nursing ...

Research identifies ways to improve access to mental health services

October 31, 2013
A study by researchers from the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester has identified ways to improve how older people and ethnic minority populations access mental health care services.

Hidden workforce of mental health carers saves Australia $13.2b

March 23, 2017
Carers supporting Australians with mental illness are providing services that would cost governments $13.2 billion to replace, a new report has found.

Men from ethnic minorities take longer to recover from mental illness, study finds

May 12, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Men from ethnic minorities suffering from mental health problems in the UK can take longer to recover than white men as they are more reluctant to seek professional help, according to research at Royal ...

African-American veterans in mental health care are not as activated as White veterans

January 24, 2017
Patients who are activated—meaning they have the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their health and health care—have better health outcomes. A new study provides evidence that male and female African-American ...

Lessons to be learned from Caribbean treatment of mental health

April 23, 2015
With Caribbean people in the UK nine times more likely than white British counterparts to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, a University of Manchester mental health researcher has visited Jamaica and Barbados to find out what ...

Recommended for you

Changing room playlist could give World Cup teams the edge

June 18, 2018
Blasting out Rihanna or Kanye West could give World Cup squads that crucial psychological edge over rival teams, suggests research from Brunel University London.

Gut microbes may contribute to depression and anxiety in obesity

June 18, 2018
Like everyone, people with type 2 diabetes and obesity suffer from depression and anxiety, but even more so. Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center now have demonstrated a surprising potential contributor to these negative ...

Nature programmes could put a spring in your step

June 18, 2018
New research shows that watching TV programmes such as the BBC's Springwatch and Countryfile might actually be good for you.

Helicopter parenting may negatively affect children's emotional well-being, behavior

June 18, 2018
It's natural for parents to do whatever they can to keep their children safe and healthy, but children need space to learn and grow on their own, without Mom or Dad hovering over them, according to new research published ...

Why you should eat popcorn with chopsticks – and other psychological tricks to make life more enjoyable

June 18, 2018
It happens fast. You crack open a bottle of your favorite drink and put it to your lips. The delicious flavor is nearly overwhelming. But a minute later, you're barely noticing the taste as you drink it.

iReadMore app improves reading ability of stroke patients

June 18, 2018
A new smart app designed to improve the reading ability of people who have suffered a stroke provides 'significant' improvements, a UCL study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.