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Can routine data be used to estimate the mental health service use of children and young people living on Gypsy and Traveller sites in Wales? A feasibility study

Sarah Rees Orcid Logo, Rich Fry Orcid Logo, Jason Davies Orcid Logo, Ann John Orcid Logo, Louise Condon

PLOS ONE, Volume: 18, Issue: 2, Start page: e0281504

Swansea University Authors: Sarah Rees Orcid Logo, Rich Fry Orcid Logo, Jason Davies Orcid Logo, Ann John Orcid Logo, Louise Condon

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Abstract

Introduction: Gypsies and Travellers have poorer physical and mental health than the general population, but little is known about mental health service use by Gypsy and Traveller children and young people. Finding this group in routine electronic health data is challenging, due to limited recording...

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Published in: PLOS ONE
ISSN: 1932-6203
Published: Public Library of Science (PLoS) 2023
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa62771
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Abstract: Introduction: Gypsies and Travellers have poorer physical and mental health than the general population, but little is known about mental health service use by Gypsy and Traveller children and young people. Finding this group in routine electronic health data is challenging, due to limited recording of ethnicity. We assessed the feasibility of using geographical markers combined with linked routine datasets to estimate the mental health service use of children and young people living on Traveller sites. Methods: Welsh Government supplied a list of Traveller site postcodes included in Caravan Counts between 2012 and 2020. Using spatial filtering with data from the Adolescent Mental Health Data Platform (ADP) at Swansea University’s SAIL Databank, we created a cohort of Traveller site residents aged 11–25 years old, 2010–2019. ADP algorithms were used to describe health service use, and to estimate incidence and prevalence of common mental disorders (CMD) and self-harm. Results: Our study found a subgroup of young Gypsies and Travellers (n = 802). We found no significant differences between our cohort and the general population for rates of CMD or self-harm. The rate of non-attendance for psychiatric outpatient follow-up appointments was significantly higher in our cohort. Rates were higher (but not statistically significant) among Gypsies and Travellers for measures suggesting less well-managed care, including emergency department attendance and prescribed CMD medication without follow-up. The small size of the cohort resulted in imprecise estimates with wide confidence intervals, compared with those for the general population. Conclusions: Gypsies and Travellers are under-represented in routine health datasets, even using geographical markers, which find only those resident in authorised traveller sites. Routine data is increasingly relied upon for needs assessment and service planning, which has policy and practice implications for this underserved group. To address health inequalities effort is required to ensure that health datasets accurately capture ethnicity.
Item Description: Data Availability Statement: This study utilises data hosted by the Adolescent Mental Health Data Platform (ADP) and SAIL Databank, Swansea University Medical School. These data are not publicly available, but can be accessed for research purposes subject to approval by the ADP/SAIL Databank Information Governance Review Panel (IGRP). Further information about the ADP/SAIL Databank application process is available at https://adolescentmentalhealth.uk/Home and https://saildatabank.com/application-process/.
Keywords: Health data, mental health services, health inequality, community, Gypsy, Traveller
College: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
Funders: MQ Mental Health research charity, Medical Research Council; MQDS17/36, MQBF/3 ADP, MR/W014386, MC_PC_17211
Issue: 2
Start Page: e0281504