Mental Health for BAME Communities
People from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds face mental health issues often with a higher incidence and rate than people of white backgrounds. However, BAME groups have been found to be less likely to contact healthcare professionals and receive support or treatment, making them more likely to suffer in silence. This is due to a range of factors which include:
· Fear and stigma from their community as it is often considered a taboo topic
· Lack of culturally sensitive treatment
· Communication barriers
· Bias, discrimination and racism
· Lack of education and inability to recognise symptoms of illnesses
CREST is committed to supporting and promoting the wellbeing of the BAME community by ensuring they are able to gain access to the support they need to enjoy a fulfilling, and improved quality of life. The prevalence of common mental disorders varies markedly in different BAME communities. Studies have shown that compared to white groups:
· Black women are more likely to experience a common mental illness such as anxiety disorder or depression
· South Asian women are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression
· Older South Asian women are an at-risk group for suicide
· Black men are more likely to experience psychosis
· Black people are more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act
It is important to encourage those suffering from mental health issues to seek help, and we should try to make this as easy as possible for them. It is important to overcome the stigma and disregard for mental health in many BAME communities. At CREST we encourage those who need help to reach out, and we offer support for mental health issues. For example we arrange regular workshops to educate the community, we offer support groups for those who may need encouragement and advocacy, or even just a person to talk to!
Listed below are some steps that can be taken to encourage and ensure BAME people are able to seek effective help:
· Speaking to someone in a position
of trust – this can be anyone they trust such as a friend, relative or healthcare professional. This can help them to open up honestly and feel more comfortable and less anxious about seeking help. CREST is more than welcome to serve as a listening ear to anyone who needs support and someone to talk to.
· Taking a friend or relative to their appointment – this can help ease anxiety and they may also be able to help with communication barriers.
· Asking for a professional who is from a BAME group – this can help patients feel at ease as they may feel an increased sense of empathy, and can also help to overcome communication barriers.
· Telling the healthcare professional about their culture and background – this may increase understanding between the professional and patient and also.
· Educating others in the community – this will raise awareness to the importance of mental health and encourage others who are suffering to seek help. Attending support groups and workshops organised by CREST helps to ensure the wider community are becoming more aware of the importance of mental health and how to deal with mental health issues.