BME Counselling Report Now Published!

People from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups are less likely to access counselling services and other preventative community services than White British people. However, we found that people from BME communities were accessing their counselling service in numbers that represented their population’s presence in the community, even though the service made no particular effort to target such communities. We set out to find out why.

104 clients and 24 G.P.s completed questionnaires. 12 people took part in one-to-one in depth interviews. We found that, assuming that language was not a barrier, BME clients were just as likely as White British clients to access the counselling service and this was based on the service having certain characteristics. These characteristics were; good reputation (including being referred/signposted by a friend or trusted professional), reasonable waiting lists, ease of access (the ability to self-refer) and reasonable costs. Such services did not need to be BME specific (having a counsellor of the same ethnicity was not considered important for most people), nor did they need to be based in BME community organisations, nor be near to where people lived (within reason). However, BME clients were more likely than White British clients to cite services being in the voluntary rather than statutory sector as being an important factor in choice. They also gave a higher rating than White British clients to confidentiality/anonymity. There was some evidence that referrers (e.g. G.P.s) could do more to recommend and endorse counselling as a suitable treatment option for people from BME communities. Referrers also cited less restrictive eligibility criteria, a broader range of interventions than Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) being on offer and a greater number of counselling sessions (i.e. up to 20) as being an important reason for referral.

A full copy of the report is available on our home page.

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