A UK-based study reveals higher rates of self-harm among young Black women when compared with those of White and South Asian background. The study analyzed incidences of self-harm among three ethno-racial groups — White, South Asian and Black African-Caribbean — at six emergency departments in Manchester, Derby and Oxford. The research contributes to knowledge about the impacts of racialization and gender on mental health.
For all three cities, rates of self-harm were highest among Black women aged 16 to 34 years old and no difference in risk was found among young South Asian women when compared with young White women. In contrast to their female counterparts, there was no significant difference between young men of different ethnoracial groups. For women of all groups, partner relationship issues were cited most commonly as factors contributing to the self-harm.
In terms of clinical management and outcomes, the study team reported that young Black women were less likely to receive specialized psychiatric assessments compared to young White women. Women in both ethnoracial groups were considerably less likely to be referred for psychiatric outpatient or in-patient care following the incident of self-harm than their White counterparts. Black women were also less likely to receive a referral to their family physician or receive formal follow-up arrangements. Racialized men were also found to be less likely to receive services or referrals than non-racialized men.
See “Ethnic Differences in Self-Harm, Rates, Characteristics and Service Provision: Three-City Cohort Study,” British Journal of Psychiatry(September 2010; 197: 212-218), available at bjp.rcpsych.org.