Black people four times more likely to be sectioned over talking therapy for mental health

Black people are four times more likely to be sectioned and given medication over talking therapy than those who are white, new figures have shown.

Mum-of-two Yvonne has Paranoid Schizophrenia and has been sectioned several times over the past 20 years, spending long periods in psychiatric care.

She believes being black made getting help even more difficult.

"I am more likely to be sectioned because I am black," she said. "I am more likely to be taken into police custody because I am black.

"I have never been offered any psychological intervention."

Her condition was only treated with medication and until recently she had never been offered any psychological therapies.

Yvonne added: "I didn't know I could access a crisis team that comes in and sees you at your house so you don't need to be sectioned.

"I would have chosen any of those because I wanted to stay with my children."

A research team has developed a new treatment for people from African and Caribbean backgrounds diagnosed with schizophrenia or psychosis. Credit: ITV Granada

But now a new form of therapy has been developed for people from African and Caribbean backgrounds - which has been so successful they are now hoping to roll it out nationally.

The Culturally Adapted Family Intervention or CaFI has been created at the University of Manchester for people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia or psychosis.

Yvonne agreed to share her experiences with researchers from the university trialling the new talking therapy.

Research has shown racism can cause or worsen some mental health conditions.

The team behind CaFI believe just 10 one hour sessions of the therapy can change lives.

Nadia took part in the pilot study for the new talking therapy Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Nadia, 38, who was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia as a teenager, took part in the pilot study.

Since having the therapy she has gone back to college and moved into supported accommodation.

Nadia said: "The therapy sessions. made me more confident. They made me believe I can be somebody and I can do something."

Professor Dawn Edge Credit: ITV Granada Reports

The study is led by Professor Dawn Edge within Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) and other sites across England.

Professor Edge explained: "It's all about understanding people's lived experience, for example, I told a white colleague of mine about being followed in the shops and she asked me what I meant and that's the point.

"I don't know any black person I would have to explain that to, but if you don't have a frame of reference where every shop you go into people follow you about then you'd just chalk that up to paranoia - you wouldn't see it as people's lived experience."

Professor Edge says the main difference between CaFI and other forms of therapy is the focus on training the therapist to work cross culturally.

She added: "That means dealing with the elephant in the room- race and racism and people's lived experience of being racialised and how that affects their mental health."

To register your interest in getting involved with CaFI, or any questions about the study, contact the research team by emailing cafi@gmmh.nhs.uk.

Worried about mental health?


CALM, or the Campaign Against Living Miserably, runs a free and confidential helpline and webchat – open from 5pm to midnight every day, for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems.

It also supports those bereaved by suicide, through the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP).

  • Phone their helpline: 0800 585858 (Daily, 5pm to midnight)

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James’ Place

Suicide prevention centre in Liverpool offering life-saving support to men in suicidal crisis.

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Mind is a mental health charity which promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues.

It provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

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For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice you can contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. PAPYRUS aims to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by breaking down the stigma around suicide and equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.

HOPELINE247 is the charity’s confidential 24 hour helpline service providing practical advice and support to young people with thoughts of suicide and anyone concerned about a young person who may have thoughts of suicide.

HOPELINE247 is staffed by trained professionals, offering a telephone, text and email service.

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Samaritans is an organisation offering confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

  • Phone 116 123 (a free 24 hour helpline)

  • Email: jo@samaritans.org

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YoungMinds is a resource with information on child and adolescent mental health, but also offers services for parents and professionals.

It is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people's mental health, and wants to make sure all young people can get the mental health support they need, when they need it

  • YoungMinds Textline - Text YM to 85258

  • Phone Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am - 4pm)

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