Unravelling Inequity: Exploring the Mental Health Stigma Faced by Black people. №1
The stigma associated with black mental health issues
Mental health stigma is a big issue in black and other minority communities and is often overlooked. Stigma about mental health is when people who have a mental illness or are thought to have one are mistreated for no good reason. It is a form of discrimination that can worry people and their families. This three-part blog post will talk about mental health stigma in black and minority communities. It will look at statistics, how common it is in different minority groups, and what can be done to reduce it.
Stigma and Mental Health: An Overview
The term "stigma" about mental health is a broad term for many negative beliefs and attitudes about mental illness. It comes from a lack of knowledge and fear, and it can lead to the unfair or unjust treatment of people. Stigma can have negative consequences for individuals, families, and communities. It can lead to isolation, social exclusion, and discrimination. It can also prevent people from seeking help for mental health issues or lead them to delay treatment. Stigma can be particularly dangerous because it is a form of prejudice that can make people feel ashamed and lead to the internalisation of negative beliefs.
The effects of mental health stigma are particularly noticeable in minority communities due to several factors, including language barriers, lack of cultural understanding, inadequate health care, and access to resources. Also, people from minority groups often face other kinds of discrimination, like racism and classism. This kind of discrimination can make it harder to get services and support for mental health. Because of this, minority groups often have a higher rate of mental health stigma and its effects.
Stigma and Mental Health: Some Statistics
Mental health stigma is a large-scale public health issue. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four people worldwide will experience mental health issues at some point in their lifetime. Also, these problems affect minority groups more than other groups because of racism, poverty, a lack of access to care and resources, language barriers, and cultural beliefs.
The statistics are even more alarming for minority communities. Studies have shown that:
- Depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia among adult black people are four to six times higher than in adult white people.
- Only 0.2% of the annual £4 million the British government spends on combating discrimination goes towards mental health issues in black communities.
- Black people are less likely to receive follow up care.
- Black people are discharged far quicker than white people.
- The NHS employs just seven black psychologists for every 100,000 black people. That number has not changed since it was first researched in 2016–17.
These disparities are partly due to the stigma and discrimination faced by minority communities.
Stigma related to mental health can be defined as an unfair and unjustified unfavourable attitude toward those who have or are thought to have a mental disease. It stems from inexperience and apprehension and might cause someone to be mistreated.
People with mental health problems may not get help because they are embarrassed or ashamed. It’s essential to learn about mental health and help others learn about it, to make it acceptable to talk about it, to combat stigmatising beliefs and attitudes, to promote legislation that does so, and to financially back groups that do so. We can help break the silence regarding mental health by creating a space for honest, open, and at times difficult conversations around mental health. Minority cultures face a stigma about mental health that can be fixed through education and action.
Learn more about mental health for Black people and other ethnic minority groups at www.bempongtalkingtherapy.com.
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Limb, M. (2016), “NHS leader defends expansion of personal health budgets to 100,000 people by 2020,” BMJ, p. i552. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i552.
Masterman, R., and Leigh, I. (2013), “The United Kingdom’s human rights project in constitutional and comparative perspective,” The United Kingdom’s Statutory Bill of Rights [Preprint]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197265376.003.0001.
Mental Health Resources for Black People and POC (2021) ilpa. Visit https://ilpa.org.uk/members-area/working-groups/well-being-new/well-being-resource-hub/mental-health-resources-for-black-people-and-poc/ for more information. . (Accessed: December 23, 2022).