Mental Health in the BAME Community

The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community in the UK makes up around 20% of the UK population. The term “BAME” covers an extremely diverse range of people and the impact of poor mental health can vary.

Yesterday, Gerard Barnes represented Smart TMS at a round-table meeting of industry experts to discuss mental health in the BAME community. He says;

“I’m delighted to have been invited to attend the round table discussing BAME mental health issues.  It’s been very encouraging to be part of such an honest discussion.  As with anything, there are no easy answers but it seems like the Government is genuine about its desire to make changes to outcomes.  Hopefully, we at Smart TMS will be able to play a part in this as we regularly deliver better outcomes than IAPT [Improving Access to Psychological Therapies], antidepressants and other treatments.”

Why is BAME mental health different?

Lead practitioner, Aisha Osman, discussed BAME mental health with She detailed her own experiences of cultural differences;

“I am from an African background. If someone was suffering a mental health issue, it would be relegated to the spiritual realm. For example, my grandparents believed that if you just prayed, the problem would go away.”

Differences in culture are only one aspect of mental health in the BAME community, however. Aisha went on to state that the situation “is not helped by the fact that there are significant language barriers in the mental health service.” In addition, statistics suggest that people of ethnic minority are still learning less, putting financial barriers in their way. In lower paid roles, it may be difficult to take time off for appointments and private treatment options may be limited.

What Improvements Can Be Made?

Mental health in BAME communities can be improved through raised awareness and reduced stigma. Aisha suggests that having better campaigns within the BAME community could help. In addition, increasing diversity in the mental health sector will help to educate clinicians who deliver these therapies and interventions.

By increasing awareness of the prevalence of mental health conditions within the UK as a whole, members of specific communities will learn to understand that they’re not alone in the way they’re feeling. The country must continue to eliminate discrimination, to increase the feeling of belonging and remove divides. By doing this, seeking help will be less daunting and result in more people receiving the help they need.