University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2016


Introduction: Individuals from Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups are less likely to receive a diagnosis and to engage with treatment for depression. This review aims to draw on international literature to summarise what is known about how people specifically of South Asian origin, migrants and non, understand and experience depressive symptoms. The resulting evidence base will further inform practices aimed at encouraging help seeking behaviour and treatment uptake.

Methods and analysis: A systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative literature conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Using pre defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, electronic searches will be conducted across 16 databases. Study quality will be assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP). Data will be extracted independently by two reviewers.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval is not required. A comprehensive evidence base of how people from South Asian backgrounds both conceptualise and experience depression will better inform the design and delivery of mental health initiatives and advance directions for future research. Findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and disseminated through existing networks for professionals, researchers, patients and the public.

Review registration number: PROSPERO 2015 CRD42015026120
Available from:

Strengths and limitations:
- This will be the first comprehensive systematic review of how people of South Asian origin understand and experience depression.

- This review will result in an evidence base that can be drawn on by mental health professionals and researchers working in multi-ethnic settings.

- Analysis will only include literature that has been published in English due to the complexities involved in the translation and synthesis of data from multiple languages.

- The synthesis will rely mainly on data from primary research papers.


This article was published in BMJ Open following peer review and can also be viewed on the journal’s website at

ID: 10178355