Psychological Therapy in Secondary Mental Health Care: Access and Outcomes by Ethnic Group

  • Louise Mercer
  • Lauren Jayne Evans
  • Robert TurtonEmail author
  • Alison Beck



To explore the differences in access to, and outcomes of, psychological therapy for different ethnic groups across a South London Mental Health Trust.


This study used Trust data to explore the proportions of ethnic groups accessing psychological therapy as a proportion of all patients supported by the Trust, as well as their outcomes within broad diagnostic clusters.


Compared to proportions in the local population, there were significantly more White/White British patients and significantly fewer patients from ‘other ethnic groups’ in the Trust (p < .05). There was also significantly greater proportion of Black/Black British patients with schizophrenia diagnoses compared to the proportion of Black/Black British people in the local population (p < .001). Of those accessing psychological therapy, there were significantly more White/White British and ‘other ethnic group’ patients and significantly fewer Black/Black British patients (p < .05). For schizophrenia diagnoses, significantly fewer Black/Black British and ‘other ethnic group’ patients were accessing psychological therapy (p < .05); however for behavioural and emotional disorders, there were significantly higher proportions of ‘other ethnic group’ and White/White British patients. Outcomes varied by diagnosis; Black/Black British patients experienced significantly higher distress scores at the beginning of therapy for depression and neurotic diagnoses (p < .05), with the latter persisting at the end of treatment.


Across the Trust, there were significant differences in the proportion of ethnic groups in accessing psychological therapy, as well as in outcomes. More research is needed to understand the factors that may underlie these disparities.


Ethnicity Psychological therapy Access Outcomes CORE-OM 



The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

Ethical approval was obtained from the research and development committee within the organisation to conduct this research. The Ethical standards of the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its following amendments or comparable ethical standards were followed.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was not required for this study.


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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and PsychotherapyMaudsley HospitalLondonUK

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