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Prevalence of common mental disorders and treatment receipt for people from ethnic minority backgrounds in England: Repeated cross-sectional surveys of the general population in 2007 and 2014

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Gargie Ahmad, Sally McManus, Claudia Cooper, Stephani Hatch, Jayati Das-Munshi

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Published13 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: G.A. is currently supported by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentship (ES/P000703/1). J.D.-M. is supported by the Health Foundation working together with the Academy of Medical Sciences, for a clinician scientist fellowship; the ESRC in relation to the SEP-MD study (ES/S002715/1); and the King's College London and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South London at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. S.L.H. is partly supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London. J.D.-M. and S.L.H. are partly supported by the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health at King's College London (ES/S012567/1), and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London. S.M. is supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI; MR-VO49879/1). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the ESRC, NHS, NIHR, UKRI, the Department of Health and Social Care or King's College London. Publisher Copyright: Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

King's Authors


Background Concerns persist that some ethnic minority groups experience longstanding mental health inequalities in England. It is unclear if these have changed over time. Aims To assess the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMDs) and treatment receipt by ethnicity, and changes over time, using data from the nationally representative probability sample in the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys. Method We used survey data from 2007 (n = 7187) and 2014 (n = 7413). A Clinical Interview Schedule - Revised score of ≥12 indicated presence of a CMD. Treatment receipt included current antidepressant use; any counselling or therapy; seeing a general practitioner about mental health; or seeing a community psychiatrist, psychologist or psychiatric nurse, in the past 12 months. Multivariable logistic regression assessed CMD prevalence and treatment receipt by ethnicity. Results CMD prevalence was highest in the Black group; ethnic variation was explained by demographic and socioeconomic factors. After adjustment for these factors and CMDs, odds ratios for treatment receipt were lower for the Asian (0.62, 95% CI 0.39-1.00) and White Other (0.58, 95% CI 0.38-0.87) groups in 2014, compared with the White British group; for the Black group, this inequality appeared to be widening over time (2007 treatment receipt odds ratio 0.68, 95% CI 0.38-1.23; 2014 treatment receipt odds ratio 0.23, 95% CI 0.13-0.40; survey year interaction P < 0.0001). Conclusions Treatment receipt was lower for all ethnic minority groups compared with the White British group, and lowest among Black people, for whom inequalities appear to be widening over time. Addressing socioeconomic inequality could reduce ethnic inequalities in mental health problems, but this does not explain pronounced treatment inequalities.

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