close-up-of-a-boy-with-curly-hair-looking-away-appears-to-be-in-deep-thoughts-while-alone-in-a-room

Black mental health matters

3 min read
18 June 2020

As mental health becomes more talked about, it’s important we also talk about Black mental health, especially in times like these when we are seeing a lot of public discussion about systemic racism.

In the UK, Black British people are more likely to be diagnosed with psychosis, to encounter inpatient mental health services and to be detained under the Mental Health Act than white people – these are things we need to talk about.

In the UK, Black British people are more likely to be diagnosed with psychosis, to encounter inpatient mental health services and to be detained under the Mental Health Act than white people – these are things we need to talk about.

Racism is damaging to mental health

As the protests in the USA and UK continue to grow, it is important to think about how these issues affect your mental health. It is possible that you find yourself feeling under tremendous pressure to share your voice. Or you feel like you are under attack as people that share your skin colour fight for social justice. Or maybe, like me, the news cycle just has an overall negative effect on your mental health and you feel as if anything you say will have very little effect on the outcome of the situation.

The thing is, being Black is an important part of our identity and character. It is important because there is a shared struggle and a shared understanding of how the world operates for us, whether it is years of microaggressions, an unjust justice system or economic inequalities. All of which can increase the risk of developing mental health issues.

If you need to, do not be afraid to go on a social media detox - your mental health is important.

Things that I find helpful

  • If you need to, do not be afraid to go on a social media detox - your mental health is important.
  • If you want to post something but are feeling under pressure, you could keep it simple and express how you feel in one or two sentences. A clear and simple message from the heart is far better than reposting everything you see because you feel under pressure.
  • Like the first point, if you feel you need it, take time for some self-care. Doing something for yourself - e.g. reading a book, playing a video game, watching some TV – is really important.
Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation.
Audre Lorde

Lastly, I think it is important to remember how far we have come in the last century, both in the fight for racial equality and in mental health awareness. 50 years ago, this blog post simply would not have been possible. So, looking at the future it is important that we realise things will continue to improve and we will all rise to whatever challenges we face.

More information and advice

Where to get help

  • YoungMinds Textline

    Text YM to 85258

    Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.

    All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.

    Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

    Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.

    Opening times:
    24/7
  • The Mix

    Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that’s troubling them.

    Email support available via their online contact form.

    Free 1-2-1 webchat service available.

    Free short-term counselling service available.

    Opening times:
    4pm - 11pm, seven days a week
  • Boloh

    Supports Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic children (11+), young people and parents and carers who have been affected by Covid-19. You can call to talk through any worry or problem, including around issues such as bereavement, physical or mental health, financial issues or unemployment, or bullying and racism.

    You can speak to someone in English, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali, French, Spanish, Arabic, Punjabi, Mirpuri, Pothwari, Hinko, Hindi and Sundhi. Interpreters are available for other languages.

    Webchat service available here during opening hours.

    Opening times:
    10am - 8pm, Monday - Friday; 10am - 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays

Thanks for sharing your story Wes

Become a YoungMinds blogger Find out more

Spread the word