Race & Mental Health
Statistics show BAME people are more likely to experience mental illness compared with white people in the UK. Explore this webpage to understand why this is & what help is available.
Why are BAME people more likely to experience mental illness in the UK?
Statistics show BAME people are more likely to experience mental illness compared with white people in the UK- but what are the reasons for this? Some reasons are:
Including individual experiences of racism (such as verbal or physical aggression, microaggressions and social exclusion), and systemic racial inequality (such as higher rates of unemployment and poverty within racialised communities)
Within some racialised communities there can be additional stigma around mental health that make it even harder to access help.
Currently a lot of the data we have about the mental health of racialised communities in the UK is gathered under the umbrella 'BAME' (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic).
Some people find the term BAME problematic & offensive because it fails to capture the wide range of experiences and diversity between different ethnic identities and individuals. For example, the challenges Black people face in relation to mental health in the UK are not the same as those experienced by British Bangladeshis, although they share some things in common.
Watch the above video to hear Black people talk about their experiences with their mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Relationship Between Racism & Mental Health
Each person will experience the impacts of racism differently. You may find that racism does not have a significant impact on your mental health & wellbeing or that you have found ways to challenge & cope with racism that help you stay well & feeling good. Many racialised people live life without ever experiencing mental illness, however the lived experiences of racialised people, plus a growing amount of research, show that racism negatively impacts wellbeing and contributes to BAME people in the UK being more likely to experience mental illness than white people.
Watch the above video to hear how increased racist comments, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, are affecting these young Chinese people.
Mental Health Stigma = negative associations & misconceptions about mental health which make it harder for people to speak up & access help.
In the UK people can feel the impacts of mental health stigma whatever their ethnicity, however within some racialised communities there can be additional stigma around mental health that make it even harder to access help.
Take a look at the celebrities below who are sharing their mental health experiences to help tackle mental health stigma.
Watch the video to see ordinary people speak out about stigma and it’s impact – particularly in the Black community and for Black men & boys.
Celebrities experience of mental illness
Grime artist Stormzy has shared his experiences of suffering with depression. He has said speaking his truth through his music has been theraputic & wanted to share his experience in case it helps someone else.
Great British Bake Off Winner Nadiya has been open about her experiences with anxiety and wanting to spread awareness about mental health in the British Bangladeshi community.
Rio has been very open about his grief following the death of his wife. Rio has made several documentaries about his experience and encourages people, especially men, to be more open about how they are feeling.
Jade Thirlwall - Little Mix
Support for Racialised People
All the support services linked on the homepage of this website can help you if you are struggling with your mental health whatever your racial identity & ethnicity. As well as the services on the homepage here are some extra services and resources with specific advice for different racialised groups:
Young Minds – Racism & Mental Health – take a look at this article to explore the impacts of racism & practical things you can do to help improve your mental health & minimise the impact of racism on your wellbeing.
6 Self-Care Tips for Young Black People – Make our Rights a Reality
Zuri Therapy – Racial Wellness Therapy Workshops – If you’re Black British & over 18 you might find these free online wellbeing workshops run by Black therapists helpful. Find out more if this could be right for you by clicking the link.
Muslim Youth Helpline– national helpline for muslims, regardless of ethnicity, across the UK. Call, chat, Whatsapp or email to talk to someone confidentially about anything you are going through.
Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim attacks) – Support for anyone who has experienced anti-muslim hate, racism and discrimination.
You might like to speak to a therapist who is part of a racialised community rather than a white therapist. It’s ok to ask to speak to someone who is the same ethnicity as you. This might not always be possible, but it’s ok to ask. If you are considering paying for therapy you can find a therapist with Black, African, Asain or Caribbean heritage here: BAATN – Find a Therapist