There is a diverse body of qualitative research evidence about how people from diverse ethnic minorities experience and access mental health care differently

The experiences of children and young people from ethnic minorities in accessing mental health care: rapid scoping review of qualitative studies

Status: Ongoing – anticipated completion, end of September 2021

Background

Mental health problems are common among children and young people in the UK, and they are experienced in different ways and to a greater extent by young people from some ethnic minorities. There is also evidence suggesting that children and young people from non-white-British ethnic backgrounds have greater difficulties accessing sources of mental health support, different levels of engagement with mainstream mental health services, and may prefer to seek advice and support in different ways to their White British peers.

We have been commissioned by the Mental Health Policy Team at the Department of Health and Social Care to conduct a rapid systematic review of research evidence relating to how and why children and young people from ethnic minorities seek, access and engage with care and support services for mental health problems.

Aims of our project

Our rapid scoping review aims to identify and provide an overview of qualitative research studies that provide evidence about the experiences of children and young people from ethnic minority backgrounds in seeking or obtaining care or support for mental health problems.

Research questions

1. What is the nature and scope of the qualitative evidence on the experiences, views and perceptions of children and young people from non-white-British backgrounds and their parents/carers in accessing and engaging with mental health care and support?

2. What is the nature and scope of the qualitative evidence on the experiences, views and perceptions of those who refer to, provide, and commission mental health care and support, about how children and young people from non-white-British backgrounds access and engage with mental health care and support?

What we are doing

We carried out a rapid scoping review of the qualitative research evidence relevant to these two questions. This is a transparent and unbiased process, to identify research and summarise the findings of relevant studies to find out what is already known about how and why children and young people from different ethnic minorities access (or don’t access) and engage with (or don’t engage with) mental health care when they need it.

How we are doing it

We searched seven bibliographic databases. We also searched the references of included sources, and relevant reviews and websites. We included studies which were about: children or young people (aged 10 to 24 years old) and from a non-white-British ethnic minority (including asylum seekers, or Gypsy and Irish traveller people); who were requiring care and support in the UK for a mental health need.  The study participants might be: such children or their parents/guardians/carers/relatives, health and social care professionals referring them, or providing mental health care and support, other referrers and providers (e.g. teachers), or commissioners of mental health care. Only primary qualitative research studies published from 2012 onwards were included. Study selection, data extraction and assessment of study quality were completed independently by two reviewers. As a scoping review, the findings mainly comprise a description and summary of the aims and methods of the included studies, selected presentation of the authors’ findings, but no formal synthesis of the evidence.

For more detailed information about how we did this, please see our project protocol.

Plans for sharing our findings

As well as publishing our scoping review as an HS&DR Web Topic Report, we will produce a briefing paper and also aim to publish it in a relevant peer-reviewed journal. Please check this web page or follow us on Twitter @ExEvidSC for updates.