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This week, a report called ‘Ethnic Inequalities in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ was published, having been commissioned by the NHS Race and Health Observatory.

Among the findings, the report concluded that: 

  • People from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds were less likely than white people to have at least one NHS Talking Therapies treatment session after being referred by their GP. 
  • People from minority ethnic backgrounds were also more likely to have lower rates of recovery, particularly for people from a south Asian background. 
  • People from minority ethnic backgrounds experienced longer waiting times for an initial assessment and between treatments, and were less likely to be referred for treatment after being assessed. 

Responding to this report, Mona Stylianou, Principal Clinical Lead at Everyturn Mental Health, said:

“The findings from the NHS Race and Health Observatory’s report are clear and painful to read: people from minoritised ethnic backgrounds have poorer experiences of NHS Talking Therapies. This is completely unacceptable. The report does show that progress is being made, but not quickly enough. 

“At Everyturn, we absolutely agree with the report’s recommendation that mental health service leaders should focus on understanding the needs of minority ethnic groups in the communities they support. Our community engagement teams do just that, and we continually make improvements to our own services based on what people from a variety of backgrounds tell us is important to them. Introducing a new online referral system, for example, led to an 8% increase in referrals from people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds. 

“But we know that there’s still a long way to go. We’re committed to excellence and equity for anyone who needs support, so we will implement the report’s recommendations alongside our ongoing work. We also welcome NHS England’s new Patient and carer race equality framework, and we look forward to adopting it alongside our NHS partners. It’s essential that we all work together to bring an end to the unacceptable racial disparity in the access, experience, and outcomes that Black, Asian, and ethnic minority communities face and to significantly improve their trust and confidence in mental health services. 

Download the Ethnic Inequalities in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies report (PDF, 2MB)

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