The mental health and wellbeing of elders in the black and minority ethnic community: promoting mental wellbeing

What is the video about?

This film explores some of the risk factors, such as poor housing, that can lead to poor mental health in BME communities.

It focuses on early intervention and prevention, which can delay the need for more costly interventions – often needed when individuals reach a point of crisis.

The film centres on Mrs Mahindra, who was isolated at home after illness. She was referred by social services to an organisation in the community called SubCo. After being able to successfully access a variety of activities and services she has made new friends, and enjoys improved physical health and mental wellbeing.

Organisations like SubCo show that no matter what situation individuals are in when they arrive, simple preventive measures such as information and advice about healthy living, exercise, and social stimulation can all prevent a person’s mental and physical condition deteriorating.

The film stresses the importance of conducting proper assessments, communication between people who use services and staff, understanding and appreciating diversity within communities, and offering choice.

Messages for practice

  1. Proper assessment is fundamental to ensuring that individuals are helped to access appropriate social care and support.
  2. Potential service users should be offered information and advice to be able to make informed choices about services.
  3. For services to be truly personalised, they should be tailored to the needs and aspirations of users and not on assumptions made by professionals about individuals.
  4. At the level of frontline services, matching staff to individuals where possible (whether based on language, ethnicity, gender or other factors) can positively affect communication and quality of provision and help to enable users to get the best from services.
  5. Simple early intervention and preventive measures can minimise the progress of declining physical and mental health and delay or prevent the need for more costly interventions.
  6. Alongside social care services, universal local authority provision such as leisure, education, housing, and transport are clearly part of the prevention agenda.
  7. Those responsible for social care transformation need to ensure that local voluntary and community groups are fully engaged in the process of making decisions about local services.

Who will find this useful?

social workers and social worker managers from older adults social care and older adult mental health teams; social care staff in the independent sector, which includes the voluntary and community sector (VCS); community nurses; community mental health teams.