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: Complete

Background

Mental health problems are common among children and young people in the UK, and there is evidence that they are experienced in different ways and to a greater extent for 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.

Aims of our project

Our rapid scoping review aimed 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 did

We conducted a rapid scoping review for the Mental Health Policy Team at the Department of Health and Social Care 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. 

How we did it

We searched seven bibliographic databases. We also searched the references of included sources, and relevant reviews and websites. We found 22 diverse qualitative studies from the UK, two-thirds (14) of which were about children or young people with particular types of mental health problems, and over a third (9) of which were among young people from particular ethnic backgrounds (i.e. the majority of studies included young people from a range of different ethnic backgrounds).  Four studies were among university students, and 5 were among refugee or asylum seeker young people or children.  The scoping review also identified a range of factors that influence care-seeking and access to mental health care in these groups.

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

Sharing our findings

We shared our results with NHS England and prepared a Briefing Paper.

Alternatively, you may like to read the full report