Research digest: The association between ethnicity and care pathway for children with emotional problems in routinely collected child and adolescent mental health services data

Julian Edbrooke-Childs, Robbie Newman, Isobel Fleming, Jessica Deighton & Miranda Wolpert (2015).
European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 7 September, 2015 DOI: 10.1007/s00787-015-0767-4

“Black and minority ethnic children were consistently more likely to be referred to CAMHS through education, social, and other services than primary care, compared to White British children, and they were less likely to end treatment due to child and family non-attendance. Clinicians and researchers should continue to explore reasons for these differences to understand the best way of ensuring that services are equally accessible to all children and young people. ” Dr Julian Edbrooke-Childs

Adults from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are less likely to access mental health services through voluntary care pathways and are more likely to access through compulsory routes, such as social services.

This study looked at whether this association was also found for children accessing child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Specifically, it looked at the reasons for referral and case closure for children with emotional problems, in routinely collected data from the Child Outcomes Research Consortium, covering more than 11,500 cases from 26 services across England.

Black and minority ethnic children were consistently more likely to be referred to CAMHS through education, social and other services than primary care, compared to White British children.

Black and ethnic minority children were less likely than White British children to end treatment because they or their family stopped attending, rather than through mutual agreement. Asian children were more likely to have their case closed because of referral to another service and less likely to have their case closed for reasons other than mutual agreement, compared to White British children.

Key finding
Similar to adults, children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds may be more likely to access CAMHS through compulsory than voluntary care pathways.