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A team comprising psychiatrists and healthcare statisticians – Jaime Delgadillo, Miqdad Asaria, Shehzad Ali and Simon Gilbody – have published an analysis  that demonstrates the relationship between area-level deprivation with referrals into treatment but negatively associated with recovery rates. These findings are relevant for British BAME communities, the majority of whom reside in the most deprived local authorities, particularly in England. The authors point out,

Consistent with the wider literature on psychiatric morbidity, higher numbers of referrals for psychological care were moderately associated with greater deprivation of local areas. However, no such relationship was found for deprivation and case-load sizes, which suggests that the ‘inverse care law’ applies in this context. This could be explained by the detrimental influence of deprivation on the likelihood of starting therapy after being referred, insufficient healthcare resources in services working in poor areas, or a combination of both. Furthermore, we found evidence of statistically significant associations between socioeconomic deprivation and psychological therapy outcomes. Poorer areas had lower average recovery rates.[1]

On a note on the policy implications of this work, healthcare researchers Glenys Parry and Paul McCrone note,

 While total spend on the National Health Service has to some extent been ring-fenced, and the importance of mental healthcare within this has been recognised, the system is still under strain. The £20 billion efficiency savings required will affect mental health as with other areas. Local authority spending on social care has been reduced in recent years and this has likely had an impact on the ability of mental healthcare services to function efficiently and to provide an optimum level of service. Cuts to other local authority services and grants to third-sector providers is also going to have a detrimental effect. Such impacts not only reduce the amount of service provision but they may themselves have an impact on the occurrence of mental health problems in the first place.[2]

Sources:

[1] The British Journal of Psychiatry (2016) 209, 429–430. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.115.171017

[2] The British Journal of Psychiatry (2016) 209, 431–432. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.115.177477

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