Mental health and BAME
In England and Wales, nearly a fifth of individuals come from a BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) background. When it comes to wellbeing, the mental health of BAME communities is vital because people from these communities frequently face individual and societal challenges which will affect access to healthcare and overall mental and physical health.
It is important to note that BAME is a term that covers a wide range of people with a very diverse range of needs. Different ethnic groups have different experiences of psychological issues that reflect their culture and context.
Data collected on the mental and physical wellbeing of minority ethnic groups can often be subject to small sample sizes, meaning our ability to grasp a fair representation of the problem is sometimes limited. For instance, there may be a small number of people from a certain ethnicity group taking part in a research survey.
Mental illness affects individuals and communities physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Individuals and communities can’t be fully understood without taking into consideration the context, their culture, and other factors such as their age, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and income status.
And yet, despite the vast amount of research, awareness outreach programs, and changes in clinical practices, therapy for minority groups is still not widely available.
How can we improve access to care?
Competent Care and Culturally Aware
When it comes to integrating culturally sensitive care, many training programs in psychology and therapy just overlook the issue. Providers are ill-equipped with information and experience.
However, schools, companies, and organisations should provide training and resources on how to better understand and treat potential service users from many different backgrounds and ethnicities. For example, African-Americans are more likely to be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. Mental health professionals must understand the patient’s context and culture to provide quality care. What’s more, when giving culturally competent therapy services, the drop-out rates in patients decreases.
Mental health affects individuals of all races, cultures, ages, genders, religions and income levels. Awareness and outreach are crucial components to addressing disparities within the counselling profession. A large number of BAME are unaware of the resources and services available to them. Some may seek counselling from church or community leaders, or elder in their family. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself, but it’s also important to be able to speak to a professional outside of the community, and therefore to provide information and resources.
More programs, like the one created by the Office of Behavioral Health Equity, are being created to make sure quality of care is available to all. If you want to help, begin by educating yourself on issues faced by BAME and support organisations such as Black Lives Matter, read books, listen to podcasts, and so on.
Beecholme Adult Care is proud to provide online counselling services to help people lead a happier life. BAC makes therapy and counselling available for all, and affordable, with a free welcome session.