Researching African and Caribbean Health (ReACH)
Exploring health and wellbeing across Black African and Caribbean diasporas.
Researching African and Caribbean Health (ReACH) conducts studies to help us better understand and improve the health and wellbeing of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds in the UK and globally, while tackling inequalities.
This includes people who may describe themselves as ‘Black British’, ‘Mixed heritage’ and in other ways. We want to help improve the health and wellbeing of all people, and the care and experience of those who use services.
ReACH is led by Professor Dawn Edge, a Black Caribbean woman who works for The University of Manchester. Dawn is affiliated with Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. View Dawn’s research profile.
African and Caribbean health and wellbeing has been influenced through historical, political, and socio-cultural forces in specific ways.
For example, in the UK, Black African and Caribbean people are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses than any other ethnic group. However, they are less likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders.
Comparative studies have not found similar rates of morbidity in Caribbean countries like Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. Racism, discrimination, migration, social, and economic disadvantage are among contributory risk factors in the UK.
In addition to developing theories about similarities and differences across the diaspora, we are committed to working with others to develop effective, evidence-based interventions.
Our projects look at different aspects of mental health. We are currently developing a body of work related to schizophrenia and psychosis. We are undertaking one study and have completed two others.
Culturally-adapted Family Intervention (CaFI) for African and Caribbean People
- ISRCTN Trial Registration: 12622538
- Expected start date for main trial: November 2021
In the UK, people with origins in Africa and the Caribbean are at increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis compared to people from other ethnic groups. This is worsened by the inadequate care that Black people often experience.
Family intervention is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to tackle these issues. This is a psychological therapy that is carried out with the family of the person with psychosis or schizophrenia, and should also include that person if practical.
Our study seeks to make family intervention ‘less White’ and more relevant for Black African and Caribbean people with schizophrenia and psychosis. More information can be found on the CaFI website.
Professor Dawn Edge welcomes enquiries from potential postgraduate students seeking to undertake research to tackle inequalities in mental and physical health.
If you are interested, please contact Dawn directly.
Culturally-appropriate Schizophrenia Psychological Education Resource (CaSPER)
The study team and families of African and Caribbean origin worked together to develop and test an online resource about schizophrenia. This study closed in August 2018.
CaFI feasibility study
The study team developed and tested effectiveness of a family intervention therapy to meet the needs of Black Caribbean people (diagnosed with schizophrenia) and their families. This study closed in August 2018.
- Gardner, P., Bunton, P., Edge, D., & Wittkowski, A. (2014). The experience of postnatal depression in West African mothers living in the United Kingdom: A qualitative study. Midwifery, 30(6), 756-576.
Patient and public involvement and engagement
Patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) involves speaking to people from the communities being researched.
Co-production is a fundamental principle of ReACH, as service users and families should have a say in research processes that will impact their future health outcomes.
We have spoken to people from African and Caribbean backgrounds throughout our work, benefiting both contributors and researchers in the process.
If you are interested in getting involved with our PPI activities, please contact us.
We provide regular updates on our research and PPI activities through our blog.
Visit the blog for updates on events, studies and other ReACH activities.
There are many organisations and resources for people who want to learn more about the wider issues surrounding our research into the health and wellbeing of Black African and Caribbean people.
African and Caribbean health-focused websites
- African and Caribbean Mental Health service – This community-based organisation provides free, confidential and culturally appropriate services predominately to Black African and Caribbean communities, as well as other ethnic minority groups.
- African Caribbean Care Group – This charity supports those with long term health conditions to access culturally appropriate health care and activities which alleviate the impact of loneliness.
- The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network – This organisation aims to address inequality of access to appropriate psychological services for Black, African, South Asian and Caribbean people.
- Black Minds Matter – This organisation works to ensure Black people in the UK are better able to better access mental health support.
- Black Thrive – This partnership works to reduce the inequality and injustice experienced by Black people in mental health services.
- Caribbean and African Health Network – This organisation aims to reduce health inequalities for people of African and Caribbean in Greater Manchester and beyond.
- Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation – This charity provides services predominantly for Black African, Black Caribbean, and Black dual heritage adults recovering from mental illness and the wider community.
- Catalyst 4 Change – This community interest company supports community organisations, social enterprises, faith groups and businesses that have a significant African and Caribbean mental health/wellbeing service user base.
Mental health websites
- Hearing Voices Network – This charity aims to raise awareness of the diversity of voices, visions and similar experiences.
- The McPin Foundation – This is a mental health research charity that use lived experiences of people affected by mental health problems at the heart of research methods and agenda.
- The Mental Elf –This keeps you up to date with reliable mental health research and guidance. Their team post weekday blogs, highlighting evidence- based publications related to mental health practice.
- Mind – This charity provides advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
- Psychosis research unit – This is a joint project between Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester, which promotes a normalizing approach to understanding psychosis.
- Rethink Mental Illness – This charity aims to meet each person’s individual needs, and make sure those living with a mental illness are treated with respect.
- The Research Sofa featuring Prof Dawn Edge
- GMW’s Early Intervention Service Psychosis Film
- Mind – Hearing Voices, Paranoia and Schizophrenia: Miles’s story
- TED Talk – changing views on mental health in the Black community
- TED Talk – Black Mental Health matters
- TED Talk- Eliminating Microaggressions: The Next Level of Inclusion
- The terrifying threat to Black women and their babies
These links go to academic research articles relevant to ReACH’s work.
- Christine Barrowclough, Nicholas Tarrier (1992) Families of schizophrenic patients: Cognitive behavioural intervention (Google Books)
- Dinesh Bhugra, Kamaldeep Bhui (2018) African-Caribbeans and schizophrenia: contributing factors (Advances in Psychiatric Treatment)
- Kamaldeep Bhui et al (2018) Ethnic variations in pathways to and use of specialist mental health services in the UK Systematic review (British Journal of Psychiatry)
- Care Quality Commission (2011) Count me in 2010: Results of the 2010 national census of inpatients and patients on supervised community treatment in mental health and learning disability services in England and Wales (PDF)
- Department of Health (2005) Delivering Race Equality in Mental Health Care: an action plan for reform inside and outside services and the Government’s response to the Independent inquiry into the death of David Bennett (PDF)
- Department of Health (2014) Closing the Gap: Priorities for Essential Change in Mental Health (PDF)
- Department of Health (2014) No Health Without Mental Health: A Cross-Government Mental Health Outcomes Strategy for People of All Ages (GOV.UK)
- Paul Fearon et al (2006) Incidence of schizophrenia and other psychoses in ethnic minority groups: results from the MRC AESOP Study (Psychological Medicine)
- Centre for Mental Health (2002) Breaking the circles of fear: A review of the relationship between mental health services and African and Caribbean communities (PDF)
- Craig Morgan et al (2004) Negative pathways to psychiatric care and ethnicity: the bridge between social science and psychiatry (Social Science & Medicine)
- S Pilling et al (2002) Psychological treatments in schizophrenia: I. Meta-analysis of family intervention and cognitive behaviour therapy (Psychological Medicine)
- Rebecca Pinto et al (2008) Schizophrenia in black Caribbean’s living in the UK: an exploration of underlying causes of the high incidence rate (British Journal of General Practice)
- Fiona Pharoah et al (2010) Family intervention for schizophrenia (Cochrane Database Systematic Review)
- Mandy Sharpley et al (2018) Understanding the excess of psychosis among the African-Caribbean population in England: Review of current hypotheses (British Journal of Psychiatry)
- Centre for Mental Health (2006) Policy Paper 6: The costs of race inequality (PDF)
- The Schizophrenia Commission (2012) The abandoned illness (PDF)
- Dixon Chibanda et al (2015) The Friendship Bench programme: a cluster randomised control trial of a brief psychology intervention for common mental health disorders delivered by lay health workers in Zimbabwe (International Journal of Mental Health Systems)
Sickle cell disease
- Shawn M Bediako and Kimberly R Moffitt (2011) Race and social attitudes about sickle cell disease (Ethnicity & Health)
- Stephen C Nelson and Heather W Hackman (2012) Race matters: perceptions of race and racism in a sickle cell center (Pediatric Blood & Cancer)
- Ryan Nipp et al (2017) Disparities in cancer outcomes across age, sex, and race/ethnicity among patients with pancreatic cancer (Cancer Medicine)
- Sahael M Stapleton (2018) Race/ethnicity and age distribution of breast cancer diagnosis in the United States (JAMA Surgery)
Policies, guidance and government
- Peter Craig et al (2008) Developing and Evaluating Complex Interventions: The new Medical Research Council Guidance (BMJ)
- Akwasi Owusu-Bempah (2016) Race and policing in historical context: Dehumanization and the policing of Black people in the 21st century (Theoretical Criminology)
For further information or to get involved with our studies, please contact us.
Professor Dawn Edge
ReACH Director and CaFI Chief Investigator (The University of Manchester)
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 2570
Where to find us in Manchester
3rd floor, Rawnsley Building
Manchester Royal Infirmary
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