Guidance: Improving Access to Psychological Therapies – BAME Positive Practice Guide

The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Positive Practice Guidance is a National document which was published only a few weeks ago by NHS England in good time for World Mental Health Day in October 2019.  The purpose of the Guide is to provide a framework to assist Clinicians, Service Leads and Commissioners of Primary Care IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Services) to work towards better access and outcomes for BAME Communities and individuals who need or choose to access psychological and Mental Health Services.

 So why is this important?

Mental Health whether it is a Mild to Moderate experience of Depression or Anxiety or even severe and enduring Mental Health issues, this is distressing not only to the person experiencing it but often to the loved ones and friends around the individual.

The Practice Guide highlights the Equality Act (2010) clear legislative duty on the part of Mental Health Services to provide equality of access for all communities within their catchment area. Recent statistics highlighted within the Practice Guidance identify that BAME individuals are not only less likely to access Mental Health or Psychological services but are less likely to achieve ‘full recovery’ also.  NHS England commissioned this guide to help Practitioners and Services to close the Mental Health inequality gap and ensure that those who need psychological support know how to access such support and when they do access Services, Practitioners are equipped to work in a Culturally Competent and Evidence Based approach.

So what is in the Guide?

There is a longer and short version of the Guide (both available on the website below).  The longer version is aimed primarily at Clinicians, Clinical Supervisors and Service Leads, providing specific examples of how to culturally adapt aspects of Evidence Based Therapy to meet the needs of the BAME client when clinically assessed as appropriate, and is an excellent resource for Psychotherapists, Mental Health Nurses and Counsellors.

There are 5 key areas highlighted in the Practice Guide and the guide even includes an Audit Tool designed to help Mental Health Services and Psychological Services develop a strategy to increase access and improve outcomes for BAME communities by using the Audit Tool.

Where can I access the Positive Practice Guide?

Both the short and longer version of this Guide can be found on the National BABCP Website (British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies) which is the lead organisations for Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists in the UK and Ireland.

Access the guide here ->

This Positive Practice Guide is fully endorsed by the BABCP and the BABCP President Professor Paul Salkovskis stated: “I welcome this guide as pointing to the way forward in terms of how to shape IAPT services, the therapy they deliver, the workforce it recruits and nurtures and the communities which it seeks to involve and serve.  The BABCP is proud to endorse this fantastic piece of work and will actively seek to promote its objectives”.

What now?

There will be National Training implemented from now to 2020 on different aspects within this Guide and dates can be found on the BABCP website.

As a Clinician and Lecturer within Health and Social Care, I encourage existing practitioners and those interested in entering this field to explore both the MSc and Degree level online courses available at the University of Derby.  Online courses include but are not limited to the MSc in Integrative Health and Social Care, BSc Hons in Nursing Studies (Top Up), Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Supervision and the BSc (Hons) in Cognitive Behavioural Therapeutic Approaches (top up).

About the Author

Michelle Brooks is a Lecturer in Health and Social Care at University of Derby Online Learning and Dr Pauline Green is Course Director – Health and Social Care also at University of Derby Online Learning.

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