Academic’s research inspires new Birmingham REP play

Prof Fatemeh Rabiee-Khan’s research into mental health care in Birmingham is to be turned into a play.

Prof Rabiee-Khan, from the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, was part of the ENRICH research programme, working in collaboration with University of Warwick and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Their research explored the challenges faced by the mental health service in relation to cultural appropriateness. It included a study that asked, “How easily reached and suitable are Early Intervention Services for the ethnic and cultural needs of BME communities in Birmingham?”

Prof Rabiee-Khan explains that the research explored the experiences of BME groups in particular because, “Numerous reports including our previous study have identified shortcomings in mental health services that have contributed to the poor quality of care and treatment provided for many Black and Minority Ethnic people. This research focused solely on first episode of psychosis and early intervention”.

Findings highlighted that help seeking behaviour differs among various ethnic and cultural groups and many BME service users get support from faith/spiritual healers before seeking medical help. Based on the research, a number of recommendations have been made to help reduce the differences in levels of care and outcomes between ethnic groups.

The research findings have also been turned into a play called Cracked by Olivier award-winning playwright Mike Kenny, which will tour West Midlands in the autumn, being performed in Birmingham REP on Tuesday 20 October.

Prof Rabiee-Khan is looking forward to seeing the play: “We are very proud and excited that the findings from our research will be disseminated to a wide range of audience in such a creative way. We are hoping that through this medium it will de stigmatise mental illness and will encourage people to access help at an early stage”.