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Women's ethnicity and rates of compulsory detention

29 November 2010

Research from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP), King's College London and University College London demonstrate marked inequalities in pathways to acute care and compulsory detention between women who are classified white British and those who are white other, black Caribbean, black African and black other.

Much recent debate has focussed on excessive rates of compulsory and coercive routes to detention for young black men, which is significantly higher than those patients from a white British background – though barely any research has taken into account how current trends are mirrored in women’s care.

This recent study examined 287 women which shows that the results are mirrored for women in black populations and, interestingly, also for non-British white groups.

Professor Louise Howard, lead author and Head of Section of Women's Mental Health at the IoP, said: 'Differences between groups in help-seeking behaviours in a crisis appear to contribute to explaining these differences in rates of compulsory admission. We therefore need to look at why this occurs, but it is possible that attitudes to mental health services and previous experiences of mental health and primary care services may be different for the different ethnic groups.'

‘Ethnic variation in pathways to acute care and compulsory detention for women experiencing a mental health crisis’ is published in this month’s International Journal of Social Psychiatry, to read the paper in full, please follow the link:



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