The Need for Change in UK Mental Health Services: South Asian Service Users' Views

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    OBJECTIVES: UK literature on mental health services for ethnic minority service users relies heavily on perceptions of professionals, carers and community representatives. This research investigates the views of South Asian service users themselves about experiences of mental health services and how they might be improved. DESIGN: Thematic analysis of material from focus groups and individual interviews with Asian mental health service users within one local area. RESULTS: South Asian service users clearly identify the impact of socio-economic exclusion upon their mental health. Cultural and institutional exclusion compound this, leading to continuing insensitivity towards their particular needs within hospital and community-based services. Asian service users feel unsafe to share their particular concerns within many service settings. They see advocacy that recognises their experience of exclusion as a significant resource for mental health improvement. They want sounder financing of culturally appropriate services for recovery; further development of the cultural competence of staff within mainstream services; and educational programmes about mental health directed at minority communities. CONCLUSION: UK mental health services remain unresponsive to the consistently expressed views of South Asian service users. A major cultural change is required if the UK Government initiative Delivering Race Equality is to impact successfully at the local level. It will have a greater chance of success if the rhetoric of user involvement is matched by systematic consultation with South Asian service users.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-19
    Number of pages19
    JournalEthnicity & Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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