Evidence for interventions to promote mental health and reduce stigma in Black faith communities: systematic review

Louisa Codjoe*, Sarah Barber, Shalini Ahuja, Graham Thornicroft, Claire Henderson, Heidi Lempp, Joelyn N’Danga-Koroma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: There are significant documented inequalities for the Black community in the UK in relation to mental health care. Research has also indicated that cultural difference exists in pathways into, and engagement with, mental health services. To reduce inequalities and improve engagement with mental health services, it is important that professionals utilise culturally appropriate community networks to increase mental health awareness and reduce stigma. This systematic review considers research in Black faith settings, with two linked aims to review the evidence for the effectiveness of (i) mental health interventions, and (ii) other health stigma interventions as the latter have been implemented in Black faith settings. The review identified ‘active ingredients’ of interventions for this population that can be applied in future work. The authors seek to draw from the mental health and wider health stigma literature to inform the design of the ON TRAC project, a collaborative partnership between King’s College London, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Black faith community groups in Southwark and Lambeth, London, in this currently under-researched area. Methods: A systematic search of ten major medical and social sciences databases was conducted in 2019, for studies on mental health or other health stigma interventions in Black faith settings. PRISMA guidelines were followed and search terms and search strategy ensured all possible studies were identified for review. Results: The review identified sixteen studies for inclusion. Ten were quantitative studies, four qualitative studies and two systematic reviews. Active ingredients of interventions included utilisation of ‘bottom up’ development of approaches and mental health champions. Multiple factors were found to influence effective implementation. Co-production and partnership working are key to ensure that an acceptable and accessible intervention is agreed. Conclusion: Evidence for the effectiveness of interventions focused on mental health awareness and stigma reduction in the Black faith community is limited due to the low quality of studies. This review sheds light on the lessons learnt and necessary key requirements for interventions that can guide future projects. Study registration: PROSPERO registration number: CRD42018110068

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-911
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Black community
  • Faith community
  • Intervention
  • Mental Health
  • Stigma


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