How Racism & Discrimination are Affecting Mental Health of Ethnic Minorities

Racism and Discrimination's Impact on Mental Health in the UK's Ethnic Minorities

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Introduction of Racism And Discrimination Affecting Mental Health Of Ethnic Minorities In The Uk

In today's fast pacing world, one of the biggest problems individuals have to face is mental health. For centuries it was seen as a taboo, and nobody was discussing how important it is, but finally, everyone is opening up about the topic. People and society function at their best when they are in a good state of mental well-being. That is when their productivity at work is at its highest, they can manage their life pressures better and support the local community. But when the pandemic hit the world a few years ago, everyone got into isolation leading to stress about their income and their family's well-being which eventually got them into anxiety issues and depression. The mind is an individual's biggest weapon. If it is full of negative thoughts and emotions that will eventually reflect in their own lives too. The day-to-day tasks feel harder to accomplish, concentration on the work decreases, and frustration about the smallest thing that is happening around them increases. In the United Kingdom, the most affected people by mental health issues are from the "Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community". The main reason for this is due to the racist and discriminative behaviour they have to go through. They are not being able to talk about their mental health problems in the open, and do not get the recognition they deserve. They do not even get the same treatment as their fellow communities because of racism. This study aims to provide a detailed overview of how racism and discrimination are playing a big role in terms of mental health in the ethnic community today in the United Kingdom and how strict actions can be taken to reduce or prevent this behaviour.

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Concepts related to mental health:

Mental health is a condition of mental wellness which helps people to manage life stresses, find their potential, study and work effectively, and give back to their community. It is a crucial element that supports an individual's capacity to take decisions, form a connection with other people, and influence the community they live in. Additionally, it helps in terms of communal and personal development. Mental health is not only about not having mental diseases; it has variable degrees of difficulties and suffering. Each individual suffers from different kinds of mental illness. In the UK racism and discrimination against the ethnic community is playing a big role in terms of mental disorders. Ethnic variations in children's mental health are also found in the United Kingdom. A study analysed 3-year-olds mental health scores and found that Indian kids were suffering from more mental health issues than Black African kids (Williams et al, 2019).  There are some theories, models and concepts that professionals use to explain mental health.

Application of theoretical understanding:

One individual's behaviours depend on their past life events. Everyone gains experience by interacting with the environment, and what they have to go through in their life. Those life experiences reflect how they behave toward others. In the UK, white people see black people as a different species altogether. Thus the theory of Behaviorism stated how the experience in the field of work, or society can change the behaviour of an individual. In contrast, according to this biological theory, mental illness is brought into someone's life by something physical (Wu et al, 2021). The work field of the UK is suffering from this. Because of body colour which is a biological thing, black and brown workers have to hear racist jokes, and they are being openly bullied and harassed. "Symptoms are outward signs of the inner physical disorder". There is another theory that has similarities with the behaviourism theory. But it mainly focuses on the person's past life experiences, and how the person has been treated in their work field or their society. The majority of people try to humiliate black and Asian people based on their appearances, which put a big impact on their mental health. Their motivation to work decreases and as a result, productivity takes a hit. The Psychodynamic theory goes through the reasons that are bothering people and stopping them to use their full potential in life and tries to work on that (Vargas et al, 2020).An individual's action can be controlled by their way of thinking. So the cognitive theory tries to understand how the person is thinking about their lives and themselves, and they try to alter their thoughts accordingly. Black and brown people in the Uk have constantly been bullied and harassed, just based on their appearances. People have to understand that nobody can choose their skin colour at the time of birth. They were forced to feel that they are not as superior as the white people. And the result shows in their changed behaviour and feeling.

Contextual analysis:

Detention data covers the persons who were admitted to the hospital for evaluation or therapy following the statute. It is measured by how many people were being hospitalized in every 100000 people (, 2022). This data shows that in 2021, in every 100000 people 105 Asian, 344 black, 222 mixed, and 75 black people were being detained under the mental health act in the UK (, 2022). The report form 2020 has shown that the numbers were 105, 322, 214, and 73 respectively (, 2022). It signifies that the people who were having the most mental health issues were Asian and black people and the least affected ones were the Chinese people. This data helps us to find out how good or bad the mental health state is among the ethnic community in the United Kingdom.

The talking therapy session in England is run by NHS and they provide NICE-approved treatments for mental health disorders. According to the 2020-2021 data, almost 22% more people are receiving "talking therapy" for disorders like anxiety and depression (, 2022). This therapy session helps the affected persons to share their problems on how they were being treated by their fellow workers or their neighbours who come from a different race/class. This data suggests the number of people who are taking talking therapy sessions and how much people have recovered with the help of this treatment. The United Kingdom's Parliament passed the mental health act of 2007 as an Act of Parliament (, 2022). It changed the Mental Capacity Act of 2005 and the Mental Health Act of 1983 (, 2022). It applies to persons who live in Wales and England.

A yearly telephone poll of those who have received treatment for mental health disorders had been done to assess the effectiveness of the anti-sigma campaign in England. The people who took part in an audio-recorded questioning were looked after at their prevalent patterns of behaviours, reasons given for discrimination, what they would have expected from equal treatment, and the effect that discrimination has left on them (Nazroo et al, 2020). And it was found that there were some specific scenarios where discrimination was prevalent- welfare benefits, mental and physical health treatment, family and friends. It was really difficult for the participants to determine what discriminative behaviour was. From the interview, it can be outlined that denial of assistance from the close ones or the government was frequently perceived as discrimination because it was expected that the people who are suffering from mental health problems would get the required support and acceptable accommodation. Professionals in “Mental health and Well-being” rely on knowledge from various fields to provide their viewpoint (Jochman et al, 2019). They try to examine an individual's mental health in the context of their life. The spiritual strategy tries to clarify how one should behave about whatever is happening to them. With this strategy, the professionals help people how to act against the discrimination they are facing and how get themselves out of that situation. To provide a better talking therapy session NHS implemented the Mental Health Act 2007, and there are accompanying guidance documents for a few of the commencement  orders (, 2022).

Identifying the current mental health-related challenges:

It is well recognized that racial discrimination plays a big role in terms of mental health problems in the community. But it has to be determined if the discrimination that has happened, partially describes a racially divergent outcome because discriminatory behaviour is rarely directly observable. When attempting to determine whether there has been discrimination, people will frequently look at a person's race (if they are black) and a specific outcome to see if the results would have differed if they were from a different class. The logical inference is necessary to determine whether or not there was racial prejudice. It is quite simple to identify and determine whether there is still a relationship between race and a result after accounting for probable confounding factors (Watson et al, 2020). Assessing people's firsthand discriminatory experiences and how they relate to their health state is a relatively recent method of identifying the consequences of racial prejudices on health. The main issue of this strategy is the lack of self-reported events on exposure durations and regularity of it. To tackle that awareness has to be created to make people come forward and share their experiences.

The ethnic minority in the UK is more prone to endure socioeconomic inequalities like exclusion from educational or medical resources. These differences lead to poorer outcomes in terms of mental health in the community. In the United Kingdom, most people in minority community thinks that having a mental health issue is a weakness, and they feel ashamed about this. This is because there are a lot of people that have negative views and ideas about people who have mental health disorders (Bernard et al, 2021). Many people do not even have an idea of what mental health problems are and how to know if they have any of them. So it gets extremely challenging for people to talk about their mental health and they suffer silently. This can be solved by taking the initiative to talk openly about mental disorders, by teaching what they are, how they affect the person's daily life, and by creating a positive view on dealing with the affected people. In addition, a lot of people decide against getting a diagnosis and instead turn to their religious group for assistance. So a religious place can be a good place to hold gatherings with these people and support them (Williams et al, 2019). Another major problem in accessing mental health care is financial instability. It is common in the country that most people from the ethnic community is suffering from a lower wage than others. As the therapy sessions can be costly they might not be able to afford them. To conquer this problem the government has to step in and provide affordable service to the community.In order to inform a new, 10-year cross-government mental health and wellness plan, the government published a call for evidence in 2022. Section 3 examines the costs associated with mental health, including the establishment of a new ring-fenced local investment fund that will be valued at least 2.3 billion euros annually by 2023–2024 (). Another problem that the affected people face is when they have physical problems relating to their mental illness. Most of the professionals who lack ethnic competency may not be able to identify it. To give individualised, ethnically competent treatment healthcare professionals require the appropriate training and assistance in building a better communication system. Long wait times for the initial evaluations, communication inadequacies, and language issues make it difficult to make a healthy relationship between the patients and the counsellor. This gets even worse when a disparity of power and authority, ethnic naivete, lack of compassion and unequal treatment towards the needs of the BME community comes into the equation. To increase awareness regarding mental health disorders and fight stigma, people from the BME community need significant education about mental health (Talamaivao et al, 2020). It may be possible to increase access and foster better knowledge of mental health disorders through improved interactions with the persons from the BME community in the creation and delivery of culturally relevant mental health facilities. To improve the healthcare services the mental health act of 1983 was designed, which allows medical practitioners the authority to hold, examine, and treat people who have mental problems when doing so will protect their health and safety ().

Underlying reasons for the issues the BAME community is facing:

People's opinions and views about various races are frequently where subtler, less overt manifestations of racism can be found. Although perceptions seem to be more challenging to prove, it is crucial to recognize their existence and make an effort to measure them because attitude can affect someone's behaviours. There is proof that unfavourable prejudices about minorities are fading. The entitlement to obtain NHS mental health care is the same for those BAME backgrounds as it is for the general public (Matsuda et al, 2020). When compared to white people, those from BAME origins may experience the mental health system differently. Compared to the general population, some people from the BAME communities are not satisfied with their treatment. The main problem they have to go through is ethnic barriers that prevent mental health disorders from being acknowledged or valued. The communication problem between different communities is a big reason for mistreatment. In addition, the healthcare providers do not have a proper understanding of things that are necessary to the people from the BAME community or their sufferings (Small et al, 2020). Healthcare professionals who are not from the same background can not understand how big of a problem racism and discrimination is. Not only that, but some BAME communities also lack awareness about mental health assistance and resources. Another major problem is typical stereotypical behaviour. For instance, many people from the white community believe that black individuals who are mentally sick will become furious or violent if they try to approach them. They may believe this out of conscious or unconscious prejudice, and some persons from the BAME community may not seek care because of the stigma associated with mental illness in particular communities (Lee et al, 2021). This can be a result of their humiliation.

The educational sector is also being affected by racism and discrimination. Compared to white kids, black kids have a higher risk of being suspended from school. Further studies have shown that ethnicity interacts with other aspects like socioeconomic background and location. Additionally, white students gain advantages from learning from different teachers. It helps them to debunk misconceptions about persons from ethnic minorities being unaspirational or unfit for leadership roles (Williams 2018). Black students also get doubt in themselves that they might not have the potential to be good leaders. This is not to imply that adding more teachers and administrations who are members of ethnic minorities is sufficient to improve racial inequality in the schools (Cave et al, 2020). What needed to be done is, making the white educators and professionals do their fair share in being racially literate, that is having the knowledge and skills to discuss how race and racism function in society and stay away from racial activities. It must also comprehend how this disparity is kept alive. And it also must address distribution comprehensively and in all sectors.

But not everyone has to go through the same experiences. Some persons from the BAME community have successful outcomes from receiving mental health care. But sometimes finding mental health treatments and support can be challenging. Individuals could be concerned about how healthcare experts will examine them. This might be the case if they feel ignored or if the demands of mental health services are not being met. To make mental health services more seamless, there are a few things that can be done (Pachter et al, 2018). The affected people from the BAME community have to talk to the people of their community or someone whom they can trust. This can be anyone, a relative, a close one or some medical specialist. If they decide to speak to someone, they have to make an effort to be forthright and truthful about their feelings. After taking these steps, it will help them to feel more at ease and less worried about vising their doctor or therapists. If someone is having a difficulty in regards to this, they can take their trusted companion, maybe someone close to the therapy session. It will help them to feel less anxious, and even if that happens the other person will be able to take charge of the conversation. They can explain to mental health specialists how their experience and society are related to their current mental health issues (Yip, 2018). Detailed knowledge about what has happened to them can help the therapist to make a better understanding between them. Making the treatment more in line with their pReferences may be helpful. If they have to face discrepancies when getting help from a health care they can hire an advocate to further take the issues to court. Advocates will help them in understanding their fundamental rights and help in accessing the services. The government also has to step forward to reduce discrimination and give the required assistance to the people from the BAME community.


It can be concluded by taking all these affirmation discussions under consideration that,Racism and discrimination have always been a problem in the United Kingdom but in the recent past it has only grown. The discrimination towards the ethnic minority is getting to an irresistible stage that is leading the people of the community into mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Some studies have shown that racial discrimination is not only limited to the work field and society but schools and other educational sectors are also facing the same problem. In the educational sector teachers are encouraging the white community to make fun of students who come from a different race. Inequality is also seen in terms of the diversification of teachers, who are only available for white people, and not for the BAME community. As a result, students from minority communities are forced to believe that they are less qualified for management positions than their white colleagues. Discrimination is also growing in the health sector. Black people are not treated the same as white people while receiving the treatments. The minority community has to wait for a longer duration to avail of the services, and also they get mistreatment. To encounter these problems societal rules have to be changed and awareness has to be created. In terms of educational sectors, all the community should get equal treatment, be it, teachers or students. Those who are following racist behaviour have to be punished. In terms of the health sector, working professionals have to be aware of racism and discrimination. Proper training should be given to them to handle the affected minority community with proper care. And educated people from minority communities should be given a chance in terms of both the health and educational sectors. Only by rectifying these mistakes, the mental health issues of the minority community can be taken care of.

Reference list:

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Cave, L., Cooper, M.N., Zubrick, S.R. and Shepherd, C.C., 2020. Racial discrimination and child and adolescent health in longitudinal studies: A systematic review. Social Science & Medicine, 250, p.112864., (2022). “Determinates under the mental health act”

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Lee, S. and Waters, S.F., 2021. Asians and Asian Americans’ experiences of racial discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic: Impacts on health outcomes and the buffering role of social support. Stigma and Health, 6(1), p.70., (2022). “Mental Health Act 2007”

Matsuda, K., Garcia, Y., Catagnus, R. and Brandt, J.A., 2020. Can behaviour analysis help us understand and reduce racism? A review of the current literature. Behaviour Analysis in Practice, 13(2), pp.336-347.

Nazroo, J.Y., Bhui, K.S. and Rhodes, J., 2020. Where next for understanding race/ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness? Structural, interpersonal and institutional racism. Sociology of Health & Illness, 42(2), pp.262-276., (2022). “Talking therapies in England”

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