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Care pathways for south Asian and white people with depressive and anxiety disorders in the community.

Author information

  • 1Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust, Northcroft Building, 71 Fentham Road, Erdington, Birmingham, B23 6AL, UK. martin.commander@bsmht.nhs.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

South Asian people with common mental disorders are less likely to have their problems recognised by their general practitioner and have lower rates of uptake of psychiatric services compared to native born white people. Less consideration has been given to their understanding of their mental health problems, their use of alternative supports and the treatment they receive in primary care.

METHODS:

A general population sample identified, using a semi-structured diagnostic interview, as having DSM-IIIR depressive or anxiety disorders was obtained. South Asian and white participants' appraisal of their mental health problems and their use of informal and formal assistance during the period they were unwell in the previous 6 months were compared.

RESULTS:

There was no difference between south Asian and white people, either in what they understood to be the matter with them or in what they perceived to be the cause of their problems. No south Asian participants reported seeking help from lay or traditional healers, while white people more often discussed their problems with a relative or friend. Most south Asian people consulted their GP and this was significantly higher than for whites. However, only around half the people in both groups reported disclosing their problem to a GP and only one in ten received psychiatric medication or was referred to specialist psychiatric services.

CONCLUSIONS:

Along with public education and GP training, the availability of appropriate and acceptable interventions for south Asian, and indeed white people, with common mental disorders consulting in primary care is key to ensuring that they gain access to necessary mental health care.

PMID:
15085326
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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