5 Least known factors about people suffering from mental health issues from BAME communities

1. Equality of Service Provision

Here in Northern Ireland there are legislation that protects the rights of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals and some migrants’ equal access to health and social care services. Mental health is one area where health inequalities arise. There is limited data to tell us about the mental health needs of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups in Northern Ireland, but we know that in the UK, BAME groups are overrepresented in mental health services, and that nationality and ethnicity can have significant impact on the way individuals experience mental health services.

2. Elimination of prejudice, racism and hate crime

People from refugee, migrant, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in the UK are at greater risk of trauma and mental illness than the indigenous community. They are also vulnerable to involuntary admission to hospital, police contact, emergency treatments and deaths within psychiatric units. In part, these negative outcomes are due to exposure to social adversity and exclusion, but they are also strongly associated with limited cultural competence and racist beliefs within health and social care services.

3. Increased participation, representation and sense of belonging

Studies on migrant incorporation and integration repeatedly show that individuals who feel more secure in their own cultural identity, and are less stressed and unsettled in their environment are more likely to participate in public life. They are more active in their communities, more likely to participate in the political system, and more likely to become active with social organisations. People with stable mental health and emotional wellbeing are also more likely to be economically active.

4. Celebration of cultural diversity in Northern Ireland

Individuals who do not identify with the two ‘mainstream’ groups in Northern Ireland orange and green, celebration of culture can be more complex, as they grapple to find space in a divided society to express their own cultural identity, while trying to navigate the sometimes treacherous legacy of identity in this region.

5. Do not say

In mainland UK, BAME groups experience mental health problems at a higher rate than the indigenous population as a whole. While there is no clear evidence on whether that is the case in Northern Ireland, BAME groups are more at risk for social exclusion, poverty and isolation more than the indigenous population, making them vulnerable to stress, anxiety and a range of mental ill health problems. Research conducted in Northern Ireland found that BAME groups are less likely to access support services for their mental health needs, and there is evidence that the use of interpreters in intimate care settings, including disclosing personal information about poor mental health, is a barrier to receiving health and social care for those for whom English is not their first language.