The incidence and prevalence of mental ill health in black and minority ethnic communities remains a contentious area, due to factors such as over-representation in secure settings and under-representation in services such as ‘talking’ or psychological therapies. Excellent work has taken place with specific minority groups, but often localised work is under-resourced and short-lived, with information being archived locally.
The Race Equality Foundation are working alongside the Mental Health Providers Forum to find and collate examples of good practice in mental health service provision. The research seeks to build on proven strengths in service provision, by assessing what is useful and replicable, highlighting gaps in provision and gathering evidence on what doesn’t work.
Particular weight will be given to examples of good practice that document and provide opportunities for the user’s voice to be heard. We are asking for and recording information that identifies ethnic groups, but also details the intersections between ethnicity and deprivation, as well as characteristics such as gender, age, sexuality and disability.
While whole population initiatives on their own often miss those experiencing discrimination or inequality, by collating examples of what works, why and with whom, more people will receive the appropriate support at the right time.
Our findings will be disseminaated across the not-for-profit sector to promote better practice.
Our project workers
This project is close to my heart, having observed the selfless work of local mental health projects in black and minority ethnic communities and the immense difference they make to the quality of people’s lives. It is impossible to quantify on paper, but when speaking to both volunteers, patients, carers and families, the hope and confidence gained by linking to local support services which focus on their need and challenges, has changed lives in the most powerful way. These projects are created because of compassion and understanding of local need, but the strategic significance of these projects cannot be underestimated either. I come from a black and minority ethnic background and have travelled and worked extensively throughout Britain and abroad linking in with issues around mental health and how they are perceived by different cultures. I have also been involved in various aspects of mental health at national strategic level through my policy work at the Race Equality Foundation.
I am excited to be working on this project, especially at a time when many smaller and community-based services are struggling to make ends meet, and when minority ethnic communities are suffering disproportionately under austerity. Good quality mental health programmes can turn lives around, and should be valued and protected. The first step for this will be putting them on the map. Before coming to the Race Equality Foundation I had worked and studied in the area of migration and forced migration and the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in the EU.