Recognizing service users’ diversity: social identity narratives of British Pakistanis in a mental health context

Basharat Hussain, Abdullah Zafar Sheikh*, Julie Repper, Theodore Stickley, Stephen Timmons, Mahmood Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


This study aims to investigate how British Pakistani people talk about their social identity, in the context of mental health, and how this shapes their experiences and perceptions of care delivered by the National Health Service (NHS), UK.

Eight narrative interviews were conducted amongst members of the Pakistani community living in a city in the UK. The data were analysed using a narrative analysis approach using ‘social identity’ as a theoretical lens.

Considering Pakistani service users as a single social entity, and responding with generic approaches in meeting their mental health needs, may not be helpful in achieving equitable treatment. Study participants reject a simple conceptualisation of race and how a response based upon stereotypes is woefully inadequate. The study revealed that people from one ethnic or national background cannot be assumed to have a fixed social identity.

This study broadens understanding of how people from a single ethnic background may construct and view their social identities markedly different to others from the same ethnic group. This has implications for service providers in understanding how their clients’ social identity is treated and understood in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-212
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Issue number3
Early online date17 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2021


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