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A higher incidence of psychotic disorders has been consistently reported among black and other minority ethnic groups, particularly in northern Europe. It is unclear whether these rates have changed over time.
We identified all individuals with a first episode psychosis who presented to adult mental health services between 1 May 2010 and 30 April 2012 and who were resident in London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. We estimated age-and-gender standardised incidence rates overall and by ethnic group, then compared our findings to those reported in the Aetiology and Ethnicity of Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses (ÆSOP) study that we carried out in the same catchment area around 10 years earlier.
From 9109 clinical records we identified 558 patients with first episode psychosis. Compared with ÆSOP, the overall incidence rates of psychotic disorder in southeast London have increased from 49.4 (95% confidence interval (CI) 43.6–55.3) to 63.1 (95% CI 57.3–69.0) per 100 000 person-years at risk. However, the overall incidence rate ratios (IRR) were reduced in some ethnic groups: for example, IRR (95% CI) for the black Caribbean group reduced from 6.7 (5.4–8.3) to 2.8 (2.1–3.6) and the ‘mixed’ group from 2.7 (1.8–4.2) to 1.4 (0.9–2.1). In the black African group, there was a negligible difference from 4.1 (3.2–5.3) to 3.5 (2.8–4.5).
We found that incidence rates of psychosis have increased over time, and the IRR varied by the ethnic group. Future studies are needed to investigate more changes over time and determinants of change.
Depression is associated with increased mortality, however, little is known about its variation by ethnicity.
We conducted a cohort study of individuals with ICD-10 unipolar depression from secondary mental healthcare, from an ethnically diverse location in southeast London, followed for 8 years (2007–2014) linked to death certificates. Age- and sex- standardised mortality ratios (SMRs), with the population of England and Wales as a standard population were derived. Hazard ratios (HRs) for mortality were derived through multivariable regression procedures.
Data from 20 320 individuals contributing 91 635 person-years at risk with 2366 deaths were used for analyses. SMR for all-cause mortality in depression was 2.55(95% CI 2.45–2.65), with similar trends by ethnicity. Within the cohort with unipolar depression, adjusted HR (aHRs) for all-cause mortality in ethnic minority groups relative to the White British group were 0.62(95% CI 0.53–0.74) (Black Caribbean), 0.53(95% CI 0.39–0.72) (Black African) and 0.69(95% CI 0.52–0.90) (South Asian). Male sex and alcohol/substance misuse were associated with an increased all-cause mortality risk [aHR:1.94 (95% CI 1.68–2.24) and aHR:1.18 (95% CI 1.01–1.37) respectively], whereas comorbid anxiety was associated with a decreased risk [aHR: 0.72(95% CI 0.58–0.89)]. Similar associations were noted for natural-cause mortality. Alcohol/substance misuse and male sex were associated with a near-doubling in unnatural-cause mortality risk, whereas Black Caribbean individuals with depression had a reduced unnatural-cause mortality risk, relative to White British people with depression.
Although individuals with depression experience an increased mortality risk, marked heterogeneity exists by ethnicity. Research and practice should focus on addressing tractable causes underlying increased mortality in depression.
It has been observed that mental disorders, such as psychosis, are more common for people in some ethnic groups in areas where their ethnic group is less common. We set out to test whether this ethnic density effect reflects minority status in general, by looking at three situations where individual characteristics differ from what is usual in a locality.
Using data from the South East London Community Health study (n = 1698) we investigated associations between minority status (defined by: ethnicity, household status and occupational social class) and risk of psychotic experiences, common mental disorders and parasuicide. We used a multilevel logistic model to examine cross-level interactions between minority status at individual and neighbourhood levels.
Being Black in an area where this was less common (10%) was associated with higher odds of psychotic experiences [odds ratio (OR) 1.34 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–1.67], and attempted suicide (OR 1.84 95% CI 1.19–2.85). Living alone where this was less usual (10% less) was associated with increased odds of psychotic experiences (OR 2.18 95% CI 0.91–5.26), while being in a disadvantaged social class where this was less usual (10% less) was associated with increased odds of attempted suicide (OR 1.33 95% CI 1.03–1.71). We found no evidence for an association with common mental disorders.
The relationship between minority status and mental distress was most apparent when defined in terms of broad ethnic group but was also observed for individual household status and occupational social class.
Studies have linked ethnic differences in depression rates with neighbourhood ethnic density although results have not been conclusive. We looked at this using a novel approach analysing whole population data covering just over one million GP patients in four London boroughs.
Using a dataset of GP records for all patients registered in Lambeth, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham in 2013 we investigated new diagnoses of depression and antidepressant use for: Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, black Caribbean and black African patients. Neighbourhood effects were assessed independently of GP practice using a cross-classified multilevel model.
Black and minority ethnic groups are up to four times less likely to be newly diagnosed with depression or prescribed antidepressants compared to white British patients. We found an inverse relationship between neighbourhood ethnic density and new depression diagnosis for some groups, where an increase of 10% own-ethnic density was associated with a statistically significant (p < 0.05) reduced odds of depression for Pakistani [odds ratio (OR) 0.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.70–0.93], Indian (OR 0.88, CI 0.81–0.95), African (OR 0.88, CI 0.78–0.99) and Bangladeshi (OR 0.94, CI 0.90–0.99) patients. Black Caribbean patients, however, showed the opposite effect (OR 1.26, CI 1.09–1.46). The results for antidepressant use were very similar although the corresponding effect for black Caribbeans was no longer statistically significant (p = 0.07).
New depression diagnosis and antidepressant use was shown to be less likely in areas of higher own-ethnic density for some, but not all, ethnic groups.
Aetiological mechanisms underlying ethnic density associations with
psychosis remain unclear.
To assess potential mechanisms underlying the observation that minority
ethnic groups experience an increased risk of psychosis when living in
neighbourhoods of lower own-group density.
Multilevel analysis of nationally representative community-level data
(from the Ethnic Minorities Psychiatric Illness Rates in the Community
survey), which included the main minority ethnic groups living in
England, and a White British group. Structured instruments assessed
discrimination, chronic strains and social support. The Psychosis
Screening Questionnaire ascertained psychotic experiences.
For every ten percentage point reduction in own-group density, the
relative odds of reporting psychotic experiences increased 1.07 times
(95% CI 1.01–1.14, P = 0.03 (trend)) for the total
minority ethnic sample. In general, people living in areas of lower
own-group density experienced greater social adversity that was in turn
associated with reporting psychotic experiences.
People resident in neighbourhoods of higher own-group density experience
‘buffering’ effects from the social risk factors for psychosis.
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