Systematic map report 3: The extent and impact of depression on BME older people and the acceptability, accessibility and effectiveness of social care provision

By Nadira Sharif, Walt Brown and Deborah Rutter

Published: December 2008

Key messages

This systematic map includes research on the experience of depression in various BME older populations and the use of services in the UK. In particular, it provides an overview of and access to research on:

Despite the coverage of broad issues on depression in BME older people, the map highlights considerable gaps particularly around the issue of social care provision.


This is a report of SCIE’s second systematic map which focuses on depression in older people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities and contains the main findings of significance. The map questions were:

These are significant questions in an environment where the wider older community as well as BME older people have generally been excluded from mainstream mental health strategies and receive inequitable service provision in comparison with adults under the age of 65. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that government policies and initiatives relating to BME older people have traditionally focused ontargeting physical illness such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, whilst largely ignoring mental health conditions such as depression.

The map has been developed in partnership between SCIE information managers and research staff, and a team from the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s College London. Software support has been provided by EPPI-Centre at the Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education at the University of London. There was also consultation with a project steering group.


Systematic maps aim to describe the existing research literature on a broad topic area and also highlight any gaps. This topic has been chosen because it is an area that has been neglected in wider policy and practice debates. The map database can be analysed in depth or more superficially as appropriate to individual projects.

The limitations in the studies mean it is not feasible to undertake the literature review element of a SCIE Knowledge Review. The map has demonstrated the need for a practice survey: (a) because the literature is not a guide to effective service commissioning and practice; (b) because we suspect there are services within the (independent and statutory) social care sector that do address depression, and/or the enhancement of mental health and quality of life, for older people from BME communities.


The map overview offers policy-makers, practitioners and researchers an explicit and transparent means to identify narrower policy and practice relevant review questions and priorities for primary research.

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