Working with BME faith communities to improve mental healthcare

South London
Published Date: 25 Jan 2019

Researchers at King’s College London’s Centre for Implementation Science are working on a project with clinicians at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust to address the stark healthcare inequalities for the Black community in relation to mental health care in Southwark and Lambeth. The incidence of psychosis among black and minority ethnic (BME) groups is up to 14 times higher than for white people, while the prevalence rate is 2.7 times higher in inner city London boroughs (Quassem et al, 2015). In their pathways to care, people in BME communities with a first episode of psychosis are 2.1 times more likely to access care via the police than are their white counterparts (Anderson et al, 2014)(1). Service satisfaction locally is significantly lower among BME groups (NIMHE, 2003; Parkman et al 1999).

The scale of unmet need among people with psychosis, and the common use of faith communities as the first point of contact, indicates a clear requirement for better communication and joint working between NHS services and faith communities.

This project aims to create a mental health awareness training package for local Black majority or led churches which is accredited by King’s College London. The research team also hope to train mental health staff at South London and Maudsley to become more aware of different faith communities in their local area and the importance of working alongside faith communities to help people on their journey to recovery. They will offer opportunities for interested members of faith communities to be trained to co-facilitate mental health awareness groups, to become mental health champions for their faith community or to become faith consultants for South London and Maudsley. These roles will involve offering consultation to staff around any faith-based queries they may have when working with clients.