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Mental Health and BAME:  How Can We Improve Access to Care?


Different ethnic groups have different experiences of mental health support, and it is generally agreed that people from Bame (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) communities tend to have a higher rate of mental health issues.

This has led to fears of the accessibility of suitable and culturally appropriate mental health support.

According to medical research, people from Bame backgrounds experience higher levels of depression and anxiety at the best of times, and this level has only worsened during the COVID 19 period of lockdown with numbers being reported as being as high as 23 percent with depression and anxiety topping the charts.

The University College of London’s research team, believes the reason for this inequality of numbers, in relation to mental health issues, could be due to people from Bame backgrounds having lower levels of income, unemployment and poorer baseline mental health support.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash
Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

The pandemic has highlighted the disparity of financial and social equality, as well as access to mental health resources even for highly qualified black and Asian professionals as racism, discrimination, and poverty all have their part to play.

Mind – the mental health charity has claimed that 1 in 4 people from Bame communities are afraid of the stigma attached to seeking help and often leave their problems untreated, which in turn, can lead to social isolation and their mental health deteriorating.

Because of widespread distrust in the mental health system because of cultural and racial misunderstandings, too many people from the Bame communities don’t seek help at early, more treatable stages.

Help – I Need Somebody!
But help is out there if you know where to look…

There are places which can offer online therapy sessions and often in mother-tongue counselling appointments to suit the individual patients’ needs.

The mission of care such centres which offer online therapy is to provide psychological consultation or counselling sessions in precisely the same way as if you were attending a physical appointment.

By using video and audio technology via the internet and mobile phones, means that you can have an appointment with a qualified psychologist or therapist at any time, any place, anywhere – without the stigma – as your privacy and anonymity is guaranteed.

This means that you are in control.

So, the fears that prevent you as a Bame, in seeking help for your mental health issues can be overcome as accessibility couldn’t be easier online.

With online therapy, there is the practice of treating everyone professionally with kindness and understanding to help break down these cultural barriers and focussing on the journey of recovery.

Being able to communicate openly without fear of racial discrimination is a great leap forward in tackling the issues of Bame’s mental health.

So, if you have a particular mental health concern and are frightened of seeking help because of stigma, cultural barriers, or systematic discrimination and have found that traditional methods of accessing support are too difficult, then perhaps you should consider online therapy.

Centres such as this one even offer a free welcome session so you can have a taste of their online counselling services before you commit.

There’s still a long way to go before access to mental health support for Bame people is equal to their white counterparts, but online therapy is a step in the right direction…

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