Tackling Mental Health Awareness Amongst Girls and Women of Black and Minority Ethnic Groups
In recent times there has been a lot of literature showing how Black and Minor Ethnic (BME) groups in the UK have a higher rate of mental health issues than white British groups. In fact, when Teresa May announced the review of the Mental Health Act in October 2017, she highlighted that people from BME groups are four times more likely to be detained under the Act than White British groups (Care Quality Commission, 2018).
Women from BME groups experience a higher prevalence of mental health problems due to more individual and societal challenges that affect their access to healthcare and overall health. Unfortunately, these mental health issues affect not just their lives but also their families’ wellbeing, particularly their children.
In the current COVID-19 dispensation, there has been a general focus on mental health in the UK and how to support people during the challenges of living in a COVID era. The fears and anxiety of contracting the virus, going into self-isolation, social distancing, home-schooling the children, dealing with the panic buying, unemployment, being furloughed, and losing businesses are triggering mental health issues amongst Britons and higher numbers still amongst BME groups. The lack of awareness of mental health disorders, suitable representation amongst mental healthcare practitioners, and the breakdown in health services has impacted the BME women’s ability to seek mental health support in the UK. The need to engage with mental healthcare providers that understand these barriers and can offer help within the context of all the exclusions that BME groups experience cannot be overemphasized.
Yarang Llamisi Foundation (YLF) believes that mental health issues among BME women and girls are a shadow pandemic that is spreading in this COVID era. It deserves decisive action, and extraordinary methods need to be deployed when considering the restrictions in movement and general assembly. So What is YLF doing? YLF is committed to supporting women and young girls in the BME communities to stay on top of their mental health. YLF will be partnering with accredited professionals from the BME community all over the UK to provide a tailored approach to coping with mental health issues. We will be raising awareness on mental health issues in the BME communities by conducting rigorous outreach and virtual conferences to help BME women and girls become more informed about mental health issues so we can dispel the cultural stigmas associated with it among such groups.
We believe that a healthy Britain is necessary for sustainable economic growth, and that can only be achieved by giving support to the most vulnerable among our population.