The Ethnicity of mental health

Picture taken from the asian awards

Matters of mental health have been getting increasingly better in the UK. Earlier this year Theresa May took it upon herself to further improve the state of mental health issues.

In a statement she said:

“This is a historic opportunity to right a wrong, and give people deserving of compassion and support the attention and treatment they deserve. And for all of us to change the way we view mental illness so that striving to improve mental wellbeing is seen as just as natural, positive and good as striving to improve our physical wellbeing.” Theresa May

That’s all well and good of her; however there is an elephant in the room and the elephant’s name is ethnicity. For years now race relations have had an effect on how individuals receive treatment and the proportion of individuals receiving help. In an interview with NPR professor and chairman of psychiatry at Howard University William Lawson revealed; “In the field, we were originally told that African-Americans didn’t have the mental apparatus to become depressed or other kinds of…” black people have long been behind when it comes to society focusing on their mental health.

According to research posted by the guardian people of black African/Jamaican heritage are 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with a psychotic illness than any other ethnicity. Another article from the guardian goes further to study the area of Lambeth, the council having the largest black population in the country. The investigation found that whilst only 26% of Lambeth’s population is Black an alarming 70% of Afro-Caribbean background occupy the secure psychiatric establishments. Is Theresa may planning on “righting this wrong”

“How does Mrs May plan on rectifying this wrong you ask?” Well supposedly she will start by providing new support for secondary schools, Partnering with employers to improve mental health support in the workplace, £15 million investment to provide and promote new models of community, plans to rapidly expand treatment by investing in and expanding digital mental health services. It is yet to be seen if this will come into fruition and the results are yet to be seen.

In her favor however the investment into new models of community has birthed 88 new places of safety based on the model of crisis café’s and community clinics. The government also plans on investing a further 15 million into this model. I cannot deny this is a step in the right direction, one of the reasons why there are so many black people in psychiatric holding is due to them not having access to help before its too late. I cannot deny this goes a long way to provide access it is yet to be seen if this has affected the black community positively.

Another factor contributing to the disproportionate number of black people in psychiatric care opportunity. According to the mental health foundation most African and Caribbean people are more likely to enter mental health facilities through the police and court system. It is no secret that lack opportunities are prevalent in the majority of black communities turning a proportion of them to crime. Adding more to the issue a lot of black individuals are not even aware they suffer from mental problems due to a lack of education and awareness. Meaning they are more likely to end up in facilities being administered medicine as treatment instead of talking treatments such as psychotherapy. Which helps them understand their problems and also works to prevent long-term issues down the line. Hopefully Theresa’s secondary school programs will help educate and support at risk youths putting an end to this disproportional issue from early on. That being said the results are yet to be seen I for one can’t help but to be optimistic about the black minority’s mental health future, It is the only option I have.