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African-Caribbean interactions with mental health services : experiences and expectations of exclusion as (re)productive of health inequalities

McLean, Carl, Campbell, Catherine and Cornish, Flora ORCID: 0000-0002-3404-9385 (2003) African-Caribbean interactions with mental health services : experiences and expectations of exclusion as (re)productive of health inequalities. Social Science & Medicine, 56 (3). pp. 657-669. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/S0277-9536(02)00063-1


In the context of current concerns about health inequalities among minority ethnic groups in the UK, this paper addresses perceptions of mental health services among members of an African-Caribbean community in a South England town. Efforts to reduce health inequalities must take account of the views of local community members on the sources of those inequalities and on local health services. The statistical existence of inequalities in diagnosis and treatment of African-Caribbeans in the UK is well-established, supported by sociological explanations of these inequalities which centre on social exclusion in a variety of forms: institutional, cultural and socio-economic. However, detailed studies of the perspectives of local communities on mental health issues and services have received less attention. In this case study of community perceptions of mental health services, we find that social exclusion comprises an explanatory framework which is repeatedly invoked by community members in describing their interaction with mental health services. Interviewees assert that experience and expectation of racist mis-treatment by mental health services are key factors discouraging early accessing of mental health services, and thereby perpetuating mental health inequalities. We conclude that participation and partnership are vital means by which to generate both the objective and subjective inclusion that are requirements for an accessible and appropriate health service.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: Published 2003 © Elsevier Science Ltd. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright © and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL ( of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:08

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