Black mental health is still in crisis

Black mental health is still in crisis

Black mental health is still in



Black British men are at an increased risk of mental illness, but often struggle to get the help they need. Black Minds Matter and a host of other creatives are working to address this systematic issue.


There's still a long way to go a year after 2020's racial reckoning, especially when it comes to black people's mental health. One in every five of us is from a BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) background, and systematic racial disparities that marginalized groups face are still present, if not more so, in a post-Covid world. Furthermore, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS)the number of individuals suffering from mental health issues such as depression doubled before the pandemic, reaching one in five


However, lockdown is not the only cause of poor mental health, and with George Floyd's death in 2020 and the emergence of Black Lives Matter that followed, a more open rhetoric has helped more people recognize how overt and covert forms of racism affect black people's mental health.


Although the engagement in the conversation has been a breakthrough in many ways, there’s still more we can do to protect and acknowledge black mental health in the United Kingdom. After all, it was only a year later that three black men were subjected to torrents of abuse following the Euros final match


However, it's not just England's footballers' mental health that needs to be considered. According to statistics released in 2021black men are four times more likely than white men to have had a psychotic condition in the previous year and are four times more likely to be held under the Mental Health Act than white people. 

A black person is also more at risk of dying of Covid-19 because of health and poverty. Because of societal disadvantages, which have been exacerbated by the issues of Covid-19, the BAME population is more likely to experience poverty, unemployment, poor academic performance, engagement with the criminal justice system, and have difficulty obtaining services. Whether it’s years of micro aggressions, ancestral trauma, or the shared struggles of life, there is an increased risk for black people developing mental health issues.


My mother's schizophrenia with bipolar tendencies, which was exposed and exacerbated by her migration from The Gambia and the hatred she encountered in the United Kingdom, is an awful reality for many black people” one of the black people told this. The psychological wounds of black people come with an array of unique challenges for mental health services that the NHS simply does not have enough resources to address, exacerbating the disaster. 

Navigating mental health services is a difficult process, and therapy experiences can vary dramaticallyif one gets offered the chance to experience it at allPeople who can afford private mental health services will be miles ahead of others who can't, illustrating how Britons aren't all on equal footing in the first place.


Fortunately, organizations such as Black Minds Matter (BMM) have been at the forefront of this massive epidemic, eradicating unconscious bias and de-stigmatizing health-related conversations both within and outside the community.

Black Minds Matter is a not-for-profit organization that facilitates free mental health services with certified black practitioners. In England and Wales, just 9.6% of qualified clinical psychologists are non-white, compared to 13% of the population. By rising the financial burden of adequate care, BMM has been able to bridge the gap for people who are underserved by the NHS, allowing access to those who need it most.


Founded in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, the organization’s powerful message that minds and lives matter has allowed them to amplify and rectify the impact of trauma on the community. Black Minds Matter has helped to de-stigmatize specific topics and is redesigning services to be more relevant to the black community. 

Since their comeback, they've raised over £750,000 and helped fund 1,500 courses, with 500 people already receiving therapy and embarking on their healing journey, and 1,200 more on the waiting list for treatment. Black Minds Matter has been working tirelessly to establish the appropriate resources for people to use in times of need, after being inundated with requests to use their service.


The #BMMUK21K Donor Challenge, their largest campaign fundraiser, seeks 21,000 people willing to donate £5 per month to BMM UK for 21 weeks. Celebrities including LoyleCarner, Pandora Sykes, Hussain Manawar, and Joy Crookes have joined the campaign to show their support. Without the work of organizations like BMM on the ground, we would be much further behind.




There also needs to be a shift away from thinking of therapy as an individual process and toward collaborative and group action, according to Dr. Aina. "This appears to be a consultation with communities to learn about the good work that is already being done in their communities to improvthese resources so that they are more incorporated into mainstream mental health care," they said. “We need to humanize and decolonize mental health services so that we see the person, not just the diagnosis or the distress they are in.”


For centuries, black people have adopted the arts and music as a source of self-expression and therapy for ages. By reclaiming 'blackness' and grappling with the societal clichés of their existence and others, black creatives have always pushed the frontiers of genres and identity. Rasharn Powellhas been revolutionizing UK R&B with his melodic alternative interpretation. In his recent mixtape, Dusk & Dawn, the musician attempted to de-stigmatize mental health by drawing inspiration from his own experiences.


His father has bipolar disorder, and he says that as a boy, he was "shielded from how that condition affected his characteristics." When he witnessed one of his dad’s episodes firsthand "the way I personally dealt with it was to create distance between him and me," he says, "when truly it should have been treated with greater love and understanding. 

He attributes his inability to "meet [his father's mental health] with love" to taboos within the society." "From my experience and perspective, I believe we must exercise caution when considering our own level of self-regulation and projecting it onto others." "Truthfully, it should have been met with greater love and understanding," Rasharn said. 


Rasharn went above and beyond to aid his community by organizing a rounders game with other musicians, creatives, friends, and family members to raise funds and awareness for Black Minds Matter. With refreshments from heritage beer brand Red Stripe and a moving speech from The Wire and Da Bloods actor Clarke Peters, who delivered a powerful message that "wasted mind, is a wasted life," the event shed a positive light on the shackles we still face in a post-colonial erahere's something to be said about the level of love and strength that exists when our community comes together," Rasharn said. 

Just as we saw with the worldwide Black Lives Matter marches last year, and whenever we come together to rejoice, etc. Powell added, "there's also something to be said about what we can do to better cope with our collective thoughts”. 


Rasharn Powell isn't the only black artist who has lent their support to BMM's efforts. "Being black is a significant aspect of our identity and character," said Aaron Kudi, a London-based musician. "It's significant because we share a common fight and understanding of how the world works for us, whether it's years of micro aggressions, an unjust justice system, or economic imbalances." 

All these factors, as well as others, can increase the risk of mental health issues developing in black Britons. As black people, it is important that we take time to examine our mental health, and as a culture, we must advocate for the proper infrastructure to cater to black mental health, including more black health professionals” he said. 


Black people would actually benefit from being exposed to or offered a method of therapy a lot earlier in life," said KojeyRadical, a musician, creative director, and mixed media visual artist. While the taboo is fading, he says, “more might be done to assist people to confront the trauma that has been buried and internalized,"


You need to find the people or individual," poet and performer Chloe Filani continued, "so that you can be the most honest and vulnerable side of yourself without judgment and [with] safety."So, when you're having a mental breakdown, you know you've got people who are willing to be honest with you about your condition, which is dealing with poor mental health," she explained.


Cktrl, a well-known instrumentalist, has discovered that a major barrier for black men is built in childhood. "As boys, we develop a delicate psyche, which society frequently alters by erecting barriers to our expression" (with its various forms of oppression). As it encourages self-hatred and misogyny, it harms not only ourselves but to future generations." 

When it came to finding solutions to this ever-changing avalanche, black female R&B musician Ojerime offered her advice towards navigating the modern world as: "Don't spread yourself thin, tryna win." It's fast-paced in the city, and it's even faster on social media. Don't be swayed by what the 'critics' 

Shaquille-Aaron Keith, an artist, said that he wished to see "a lot more black men supporting black women." Tell them they're beautiful, make them feel comfortable in their own skin, and not having to conform to societal pressures of ‘beauty enhancements.' And I don't want to see a black woman emasculating a black man because he doesn't have the things, she feels he should have at a particular age." Also, I don't want to see a black woman emasculating a black man because he doesn't have the things, she feels he should have at a particular age."


Gabriel Moses, a photographer, added to this by saying, "The mind is one of the most important things to every human being." Anything concerning that must be treated seriously, which hasn't always been the case among many of us." Moses believes that education is a vital tool for change, and Jords, a musician, concurred. 

"Mental health has to be treated in the same way that physical health is treated, and we need the government to finance those who are doing everything they can to help those who are mentally ill," they stated. "We already have enough change makers and voices; all they need is more support."


In conclusion, black people alone shouldn’t be left to keep the flame of conversations alight. It's the compassion and assistance of others in times of need, legislative improvements, and increased education on how to unlearn someone's racism. It's being aware of and alert against cultural bias, as well as demanding change on all levels. "After earning a golden ticket through a scholarship to uplift myself from the disadvantaged socioeconomic situation I inherited, I know more than anyone how crucial having support can be” said Shaquille-Aaron Keith


Lastly, we can work together to make the world a better place for all marginalized groups, as well as future generations, by supporting individuals less fortunate than yourself and offering equitable chances. We need to love each other more, and not just when there's a BLM March," said Shaquille-Aaron Keith, “but consistently, 24/7-365. All I want to see is more love"




Previous Post Next Post