How do Black and Ethnic Minorites (BAME) get affected by Mental Health Issues?

An outrage has happened, worldwide since the death of George Floyd.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black male, was brutally killed by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Even though he cried he could not breathe 16 times. Fellow police officers looked on without any remorse.

Black Lives Matter Campaign

#BlackLivesMatter was set up in 2013, “after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder”. It is a worldwide organisation whose “mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”

This strong and powerful statement has emerged the more recent campaign #whatmatters2020, which highlights issues including police brutality, racial injustice and economic injustice on the black generations.

What are the current statistics on race and mental health?

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Groups (BAME) count for a fifth of people in England and Wales. The Mental Health Foundation found that those experiencing racism were more likely to get psychosis and depression.

Social and Economic Inequalities

“Among 16 to 24-year olds, unemployment rates are highest for people from a Black background (26%) and from a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background (23%) in comparison with their White counterparts (11%)”.

“Even when employed, men and women from some ethnic groups are paid less on average than those from other groups with similar qualifications and experience. Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities consistently have high rates of poverty, as do Black, Chinese and Other ethnic communities.

Homelessness is a key issue among minority ethnic groups, with 37% of statutory homeless households from a ‘BME background’ in 2013.

This shows that statistically people from within our local area’s are not being treated fairly in terms of their work and living arrangements. Poverty and unemployment are clear factors that affect people from the BAME backgrounds.

Mental Health Stigma

People from ethnic backgrounds do not always have the right environment to talk about their mental health issues and may feel discriminated against in their communities for talking about any issues that they may have.

We can help by creating a safe- haven for people from these groups to talk about their worries with people from their community.

Youth Criminal Justice

Over 40% of youths that enter the youth criminal justice system are from the BAME and a third, go on to have mental health conditions following on from this.

This shows that they are less likely to be diagnosed, upon entering the courts with a mental health condition. This can then lead to more serious effects later in life.

Do different ethnic minority groups have different mental health concerns?

Black/African/Caribbean and Black-British

  • Risk of psychosis in Black Caribbean’s is 7 times more likely than that of a white person. 
  • Suicidal thoughts are higher among the white population; however, suicide rates are higher among younger Black African and Black Caribbean, also middle – aged Black African and Black Caribbean men.
  • People in these groups are more likely than average, to experience mental health services due to mental health concerns.

Asian and Asian- British

Asian means people in the UK from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chinese and other minority backgrounds.

  • People of Indian and Pakistan origin show higher levels of mental wellbeing compared to other ethnic groups.
  • Suicidal thoughts are less common in Asian people than White British people.
  • The Chinese population is underrepresented in the mental health services. They have the lowest admission rate. However, further research is needed to find out if this is because of mental health or higher access barriers.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

  • People in these groups are more likely to be marginalised in society with access to regular services, that the general population gets regularly.
  • They have a higher chance of suffering from a mental illness including PTSD, depression and anxiety.
  • This group is the least likely to get support, then the general population.

What do the statistics tell us?

The statistics, unfortunately reveal that the Black Community, Refugees and Asylum Seekers are the most at risk from suffering from mental illness in some form or another

Further research needs to be done on the Chinese communities within England and Wales ad whether they have equal access to mental health care. Like the rest of the ethnic and white people.

Extra measures need to be put in place to ensure that all BAME groups have access when needed to mental health services.

What does the Mental Health Organisation recommend should be done for the BAME in our society?

There are many barriers in accessing mental health services. The Mental Health Organisation recommends:

  1. Improvement in overcoming language barriers – allowing services to have interpreting, language and translation support.
  2. Meeting faith and religious needs.
  3. Having culturally appropriate food available.
  4. Have a greater availability for gender-specific staff.
  5. Increasing the ethnic diversity of staff within mental health.
  6. Actions to reduce experiences of racism and discrimination.

They hope that by getting these actions in place, then it may make mental health services more accessible.

What help is available for BAME?

Local Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/local-minds/

Local Mind can help put people from Black and Minority Ethnic groups in touch with groups of similar ethnicities. This can help them feel more comfortable.

Black Thrive https://www.blackthrive.org.uk

“Black Thrive is a partnership between communities, statutory organisations, voluntary and private sector. They work together to reduce the inequality and injustices experienced by Black people in mental health services. They address the barriers which lead to poorer outcomes across a range of social factors, such as education, employment, housing, and so on, all of which may negatively impact one’s health and wellbeing. “

This is the place to come if you are black and have suffered from mental health issues, economic injustice or workplace issues.

If you have suffered from any of the issues mentioned in this article. Ann-Marie is a qualified counsellor and is offering a free telephone consultation at TLC Counselling. Please call her on 07775918572. https://tlccounselling.co.uk