Race Disparity Audit Shows Black People are Hit Hardest by Mental Health Problems



The subject of mental health has recently been given a spotlight, with numerous campaigns encouraging people to seek help for an often-debilitating illness. However, according to a new government website, this problem is significantly worse among the black community in the UK. These figures state that black people have a higher likelihood than any other minority of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act (MHA) at a rate of 272.1 people per 100,000. This research is supported by national mental health charity Mind whose Equality Improvement Manager Huma Munshi said, “research from Mind shows us that black people are disproportionately more likely to be detained.” This is supported by Marcia Jarrett, Center Manager for the Tamarind Centre which deals with mental health in the black community, who described mental health problems as “a given” for the black community.

 

Whilst the impact of mental health problems is all too clear, its root causes can be less obvious, especially among ethnic minorities. In this case though, both Ms Munshi and Ms Jarrett point to race being a significant factor. Ms Munshi mentioned how black males in particular are “disproportionately diagnosed with schizophrenia, treated with suspicion and assumed to be violent” and that reasons for this include, “misplaced perceptions and cultural stereotypes”. However, Ms Jarrett went further arguing, “insitutionalised racism is prevalent in society” going on to say, “if you’re constantly told you’re at the bottom of the pile, your mental health will suffer”. These comments seem to suppport a Home Office study which says race-hate crime is up 27% on last year. Equally worrying is Ms Jarrett’s claim that 8/10 people from the black community say they’ve been racially bullied or victimised. One other reason offered by Ms Jarrett for this problem was that in the black community, “you don’t talk about your business”

However, there are things being done to try and combat mental health problems in the black community as both Mind and the Tamarind Centre work within the black community to try and help those suffering from mental health problems. According to Ms Munshi, her organisation offers, “, crisis helplines, drop-in centres, employment and training schemes, counselling and befriending”, and much more. The Tamarind Centre is Coventry’s only exclusively black-focused mental health charity and it also offers counselling and drop-in services with the aim of preventing mental health issues before they occur.

At present, the situation looks bleak for the black community in the UK when it comes to mental health, but hopefully this will improve thanks to the work of organisations such as Ms Jarrett’s and Ms Munshi’s. If you have been affected by mental health problems, want to get help for a friend or just want more information, contact details for both organisations can be found below:

 

 

The Tamarind Centre:

Web: tamarindcentre.co.uk

Telephone: 02476226612 or 02476225512

Mind:

Web: https://mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines

Telephone: 0300 123 3393

Sophie Wallace

 

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