Sample Cultural Studies Black and Minority Ethnic Communities Research Proposal

  1. Introduction

The black and minority ethics rarely access mental health services in the United Kingdom, more so in London. This mostly includes those aged between the ages of 18 to 26. This is a worrying trend bearing in mind that mental illness is gradually affecting people of this specific age as a result of many factors and its consequences if untreated may be very unbearable. There was, therefore, a need to undertake a thorough research on the topic so as to explore on the barriers that hinder the 18 to 26-year-old persons from the BME group from accessing the mental health services in London.

The research proposal will first give a background of the topic of study and a rationale from relevant academic sources to dig deep into the issue of BME young adults and their frequency of accessing mental health services in London. This will be followed by identification of the aims and objectives of eth study. This will be followed by an in-depth research methodology where ways of getting information from relevant sources will be discussed. Ethical and bias issues will also get discussed with regards to both the respondents and the research. A scheduled time table will consequently follow, where the progress of the study will be highlighted. Finally, there will be a reflection section, where the journey of the research proposal will be discussed.

  1. Background

According to (Foley & Dadzie, 2017), a number of youths from the BME background fail to go for constant mental health services, which is very crucial for their wellbeing.  This is a proof that people require more mental health literacy and also practical support where they would be able to be conversant with the need for being aware of their mental health conditions and also to be able to combat stigma (Hackett, 2018). This is the role of the government to ensure that it improves on information about services and also access pathways. By ensuring that BME youths are able to access quality mental health services, then progress will be made in ensuring that they are safe and secure from future cases of mental illnesses (Keating & Brown, 2016).

Many youths between the age of 18 to 26 from the black and minority group, more so in London, suffer from challenges that are associated with mental health. These challenges affect the quality life of these individuals and also adversely affect their ability to play an active role in their societies (Lwembe, Green, Chigwende, Ojwang, & Dennis, 2017). The youths with mental challenges are not also able to contribute both to their local and wider economies. This issue is very particular with youths based in London, more so from the black and minority ethnic communities. There is however lack of reliable data on mental health that makes it very virtually impossible for persons providing with mental health services to be able to assess the scale of demand for the services in London and also to be able to direct the resources appropriately (Lwembe, Green, Chigwende, Ojwang, & Dennis, 2017).

  1. Rationale

People of either African or Caribbean descent in London, who are the largest minority group, have an over-representation at each level in the psychiatric process. Comparing them to other groups, they also have a high likelihood of being treated as inpatients and also as a sectioned patient (Slade, et al., 2014). While this minority community is at about 26% of the local London population, they are the persons who occupy 70% of persons who have been detained in the psychiatric settings (Hilton, 2015).  According to statistics, black men are also 17 times more likely to get diagnosed with serious mental health illness than their white counterparts in London.  The majority of them often visit these psychiatric settings when it is too late and when their mental conditions have advanced to worse stages when it is a time of crisis or breakdown (Jolley, et al., 2015). These are worrying statistics.


To explore the effects of a failure by the persons aged 18- 26 group from accessing mental health services in London.


  1. To explore the prevalence of the mental problems among 18-26-year-old persons from the Black and minority ethnic groups in London
  2. To examine the repercussions of barriers which prevent these persons from accessing the mental health services
  • To find out the effects of government interventions and the initiatives it undertakes to tackle these barriers which prevent this particular group from accessing mental health services.

Research Question

What are the perceived barriers preventing the young adult from age 18 to 26 from BME group from accessing mental health service in London?

Literature Review

According to the World Health Organization, mental health can be described as a state of well-being in which a person realizes his/her own potential, can easily cope with the normal life stresses, make a contribution to the community and also work productively.  On the other WHO defines mental ill health as a variety of clinical disorders and illnesses.  The causes of mental ill health are not always very clear or comprehensible, neither are they always accurately described by a preexisting diagnostic label (Reynolds, Desai, Zhou, Fornells‐Ambrojo, & Garden, 2017).

At any given time, these black and people of minority groups in London have estimated to a have suffered mental health problems. These problems have had adverse consequences. The consequences include lack of happiness, poor physical health amongst many other personal issues (Robotham, Satkunanathan, Doughty, & Wykes, 2016). They have also been unable to work, study, develop and also maintain relationships with others effectively.  According to Jolley, et al., (2015), mental illness on these youths also has an economic impact to not only the individuals but also their families. As a result, according to Hackett,( 2018) over 26billion euros is lost from the London’s economy. This is a huge number of losses as compared to other destinations in the country.  A number of factors that could get blamed for persons getting the mental illness challenges include lack of good housing, unemployment, education amongst many other factors that have made more youths from the black and minority community, get depression and other mental issues that lead to severe cases of their mental illnesses (Lwembe, Green, Chigwende, Ojwang, & Dennis, 2017).

Some of the common mental disorder that affects the youths in London include anxiety-related disorders, conduct disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is however quite difficult to measure how the situation has changed over time, but the mental health specialists support for these youths has been on the rise and in demand in the recent years (Broyd, Jolley, & Johns, 2016).

According to Hackett, (2018), the number of youths who attempted to commit suicide was at 33%, self-harm issues were at 41% and online bullying was at 87%. These are issues that could greatly get associated with issues of mental illnesses amongst the youths. However, these numbers were mostly found within persons who are from the black and minority groups (Singh, et al., 2014). This means that there has been a low access to mental services, leading to deterioration of their state. As much as poverty could be blamed for this, there are also other factors that could have contributed to the low turnout for mental health services. There are other factors that could be leading to the very few numbers of people willing to access mental health services, despite the high population of persons with these issues (Keating & Brown, 2016).

A high number of BME youths also get to the psychiatric settings only through courts or police, rather the normal GP referral. This is a clear indication that they tend to remain longer in the system and consequently have poorer outcomes. A research carried out in 2010, by the care Quality commissioned, established that African and Caribbean people in London and probably entire England have 40 % of chances of only accessing mental health services through a criminal justice system pathway (Jolley, et al., 2015).

It is evident that there are therefore several factors that are barriers for these youths from accessing mental health services. One of the leading factor affecting the BME groups is their low socioeconomic status. This means that they could fail to afford to pay for insurance and consequently may fail to meet the requirements for acquiring these crucial services (TommyDickinson, Walker, LaurenWalker, & Bradley, 2018).  A number of them result in crime, leading to arrests, where after court hearings and police visits, their mental instability is detected and consequently receive these kinds of services (Perry, Gardener, Dove, Eiger, & Loewenthal, 2018).

According to the WHO’s objectives of Health for all by the year 2010, the report is of the opinion that there is a need for the BME communities to have equal health access, regardless of their economic and social standings in their communities. This is because this is a fundamental human right. A majority of the persons from BME communities also less often recognize the need for mental health care, as compared to the white population (Smith, 2016).

Another leading a factor that could be barring this specific groups from accessing mental health illness is the lack of enough awareness and knowledge by a majority of them. This leads to them being ignorant of taking regular visits to the mental health clinics to have regular checkups which could be necessary for their health (Reynolds, Desai, Zhou, Fornells‐Ambrojo, & Garden, 2017). There may also be generational differences in the BME families which lead to conflicts between the more traditional older people and the young family members, where the parents do not see the need for having their kids go for regular checks on their mental health, leading to hindrance of service provision. According to Hackett, (2018) , there is also evidence that people from the BME groups in the UK, more so in London, access dementia services way later than the people from the rest of the majority population.

There is also the issue of Hierarchies and caste systems in some BME communities, which also might be the leading cause of impediment in the therapeutic relationship.  An example is the issue of the South Asian community in London which is socially and culturally fragmented. This means that persons have a difference in education, culture and may not be of a positive view towards the issue of having mental illness checkup, which may be a taboo in their society. This leads to very few people from these communities having the willingness and courage of going for mental illness checkup (Whalen, Harrold, Child, Halford, & Boyland, 2018).

From the past research undertaken on the issue of BME groups and their access to mental health services, there is a need for a more in-depth research on the issue. The research will look into the prevalence and incidences of mental ill health amongst the ethnic minority groups. It will also dwell one establishing the leading causes of the of the failure of the youths from accessing these services, more so in London.   This will entail an in-depth data collection and data analysis.


  1. Research Methodology

5.1 Introduction

For this chapter, the methods of undertaking the research are critically discussed and analyzed. It will entail the methods of data collection, sampling analysis of the data, ethical considerations and the limitations of the research. The target audience for the study will entail persons with information regarding mental illness, patients from the BME community, government officials and any other stakeholders who are conversant with the subject matter. From the findings of the study, the most relevant recommendations and conclusions will be made.

5.2 Research Methods

In order to satisfy the aims and objectives of the research, qualitative research will be applied. This is because this is the most appropriate method which would ensure that accurate data regarding the study is undertaken. The research will also entail qualitative review. It also ensures that there are different choices of various techniques. Interviews and online surveys will be conducted for the study, where the interviews will be both structured and semi-structured. Qualitative research has major advantages. Some of which include the fact that interviews are not limited to particular questions and consequently could get redirected in real time. The issues and subject in the qualitative study can be evaluated in depth and detail (Kumar & Promma, 2005). Qualitative research will also offer a way clearer vision of what is to be expected in the course of the study. Collection of data in qualitative research will also entail only a few particular individuals and cases. This will ensure that the findings and outcome do not spread to broader populations hence ensuring quality data collected.

5.3 Data collection method and tools

For the data collection, interviews and online surveys will be conducted so as to determine the factors that limit the 18-26 years old from the BME community and also establish the leading causes for deteriorating mental health. This data collection will take place in London. The interviews will be one on one. For persons who will not be available offline, then they will take part in an online survey. This will entail the use of their email addresses, which are the most effective tools for use.  Appropriate questions with regards to the subject matter will get applied.  Views, opinions, and recommendations of the interviews and surveys will be recorded to get used for the conclusion of the study. For participation in the interview, the respondents will have the freedom of pulling it at will with no coercion or getting compelled to answer the questions. Their privacy and identity will also get used. The respondents will also have the freedom of expressing themselves and also air their opinions freely. Their suggestions and the recommendations will be appropriate in assisting to achieve the set aims and objectives of the research (Neuman, 2014).

To complement the primary data, secondary research will be incorporated. This will involve use in past reports, publications, journals, magazines and proceedings’ reports. There will also be past research in books on the mental illness topic for the youths between the age of 18-26 from the BME groups in London. These publications will be crucial in that they will provide more information and add up to the collected data from interviews to assist in effectively coming up with best conclusions and recommendations for the research (Yin, 2009).

5.4 Sampling

The conduction of interviews will entail 26 adults, both male and female aged above 18 years. A majority of the participants will be identified through the registers of the Black and Minority Ethnic communities in partnership center in London. The criteria for choosing the participants will entail identifying those who are conversant with the subject matter and persons who are likely to assist in developing best recommendations into the issue of mental illness amongst the youths from the BME community in London (Neuman, 2014).

5.5 Data analysis

After the data is collected there will be a need to conduct a thorough analysis. A thematic analysis will be conducted with an aim of identifying the significant themes which are commonly emerged in regards to the perceived barriers to access the mental health services. Use of graphical and pictorial representation will also be applied as a way of analyzing the collected data (Kumar & Promma, 2005).

5.6 Ethical considerations

Ethical considerations are a very significant aspect of every study. This is because they ensure that standards and norms of the study are well in place. Moral standards in any given study ensure that data is not fabricated or falsified. This allows for promotion of pursuit of the truth and the knowledge, which are primary goals and objectives of the undertaken study.

Ethics will also be vital in making sure that there are collaborative efforts in the course of the study so as to build up trust in the environment of the research, mutual respect and also responsibility and accountability.

Some of the ethical; issues to be considered include confidentiality, voluntarism and respect to any respondent (Yin, 2009). All participants will get assured of their privacy, where none of them will in any way get coerced into revealing information or airing their opinions and views. All participants will also be provided with the appropriate guidelines for issues such as health standards, safety, human rights and any other ethical factors.  Through handling of the moral issues, the research will have observed all the integrity issues and lead to the attainment of the set aims and objectives of the research.  Other codes of conduct will also be observed. This includes transparency, honesty, intelligence, confidentiality, social responsibility and non-discrimination (Neuman, 2014).

As a result of the sensitivity that surrounds the issue of mental illness and wellbeing, the privacy and confidentiality of the respondent which includes name, address and any other relevant information will be protected and only specific authorization for the information will be obtained from the participants. This is so as to ensure that the respondents are not at risk of getting stigmatized. It will also assist to ensure that the vulnerable groups are protected.  In regards to bias, any data received from secondary sources or persons who are likely to be partisan will get more scrutiny so as to avoid bias. In case of any bias within the collected data, there will be an acknowledgement of this partiality.

  1. Research time table
Dates Action Result
1st– 5th April Understanding Mental illness in London amongst the BME Notes


5th – 10th April


Understanding factors that deter the youths from accessing mental health services Background and Rationale completed
10th April- 15th April


Analyzing of issues related to access of mental health for young adults among the BME groups  A Write up of the  aims and objectives and research proposal question
15th – 30th April Going through the literature review Secondary sources
1st -30th May


Research Methodology and ethical considerations Notes


1st-14th June Data analysis Notes
15th June- 21st June


Conclusion of the study Notes
22nd– 30th June  Reflection Notes


  1. Reflection

I will use the Gibbs reflective model to reflect on my experience in undertaking the research proposal (Gould & Taylor, 2017). From the proposal, it is evident that mental illness is a sensitive topic that needs a careful approach especially in data collection. However, In the course of writing the research proposal, I had a smooth flow, where it was relatively easier to identify the boost appropriate methods of use and also establish the best participants. There were limitations since this is a very sensitive topic, where care needs to be undertaken so as to ensure that no person will be adversely affected by the study.  From the literature review, I learned that there are visible gaps in the study, where the research will be in place to answer these questions and ensure that the goals and objectives set are met.  In the future of a research proposal, I will ensure that more points regarding the subject matter are included, to make it more effective (Gould & Taylor, 2017). In cases of encountering this kind of research in the future, I will ensure to use the same strategies, but make sure that I give more emphasis on the literature review and the rational for the study. This is so as to have a stronger background in the topic, so as to conduct relatively better studies in the future.


8. References

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Foley, L., & Dadzie, L. (2017). Using cultural dynamics in mental health nursing to improve health disparities. Mental Health Nursing, 37(4).

Gould, N., & Taylor, I. (2017). Reflective learning for social work: research, theory and practice. Routledge.

Hackett, R. (2018). Development: Improving quality of mental health care for BME clients. Mental health, 11, p.31.

Hilton, C. (2015). Diversity in older people’s mental health services: black and minority ethnic groups or the universality of the rainbow? International psychogeriatrics, 27(2), pp.175-177.

Jolley, S., Garety, P., Peters, E., Fornells-Ambrojo, M., Onwumere, J., Harris, V., & Johns, L. (2015). Opportunities and challenges in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies for people with Severe Mental Illness (IAPT-SMI). evaluating the first operational year of the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) demonstration site for psychosis. . Behaviour research and therapy, 64, 24-30.

Keating, F., & Brown, S. ( 2016). Multidisciplinary contexts: insights from mental health. Social Work in a Diverse Society. Transformative Practice with Black and Minority Ethnic Individuals and Communities, p.145.

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Whalen, R., Harrold, J., Child, S., Halford, J., & Boyland, E. (2018). The Health Halo Trend in UK Television Food Advertising Viewed by Children: The Rise of Implicit and Explicit Health Messaging in the Promotion of Unhealthy Foods. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(3), p.560.

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