BAME Mental Health Campaign
Posted 5 October 2020
Help us understand how support services at the University and union could more effectively meet BAME students' needs.
BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity) students’ experiences of mental health, and mental health treatment at university have been ignored for far too long. That’s why we are running a campaign to find out what to change for the better for BAME students’ mental health on campus.
BAME is a term that covers a wide range of people with a very diverse range of needs. Different ethnic groups have different experiences in society that reflect their culture and context. They are intersectional and not a homogenous group.
Why BAME Mental Health?
Research has consistently shown that people from BAME communities have higher rates of mental health problems, worse access to treatment, and worse recovery than their white peers.
- BAME communities experience higher rates of depression and anxiety.
- People from African Caribbean communities are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital for schizophrenia than any other group.
- BAME communities are less likely to access mental health support in primary care (i.e. through their GP) and more likely to end up crisis care.
Find more info here
- 2/3 BAME students experiencing mental illness often experience discrimination from healthcare professionals.
- Existing inequalities in housing, employment and finances have had a greater impact on the mental health of people from different BAME groups than white people during the coronavirus pandemic.
Why is this?
Racism and discrimination
Research suggests that the stress of experiencing racism throughout your life can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. The cumulative effect of everyday discrimination is particularly linked to psychosis and schizophrenia.
- This can be made worse when someone from the BAME community discloses their experiences of discrimination and its effects on their mental health to friends, colleagues or mental health professionals who have not had this lived experience. These friends and colleagues might misunderstand or downplay the impact of these experiences. This may lead the person to doubt their own experiences, and feel frustrated.
Click here to watch David Harewood speak about the impact of racism on his mental health as a young black man.
- Mental health professionals are required to follow Prevent, which is a government anti-terrorism strategy. Yet many think that this guidance is Islamophobic, as it focuses disproportionately on Muslim communities as being at risk of radicalisation, when anyone is at risk of being radicalised. This has resulted in many people from Muslim communities feeling untrusting of mental health professionals, and not accessing mental health care.
Click here to find out about why the National Union of Students (NUS) is boycotting Prevent
BAME communities are more likely to experience poverty, have poorer educational outcomes, higher unemployment, and contact with the criminal justice system, and may face challenges accessing or receiving appropriate professional services.
Mental health stigma
Different communities understand and talk about mental health in different ways.
In some communities, mental health problems are rarely spoken about and can be seen in a negative light. This can discourage people within the community from talking about their mental health and may be a barrier to engagement with health services.
What initiatives are in place to help BAME mental health around the UK?
Students Nkasi Stoll and Yannick Yalipende set up a group called ‘Black Students Talk’ in their university as a result of their own experiences of mental illness. These are groups that use one to one or group sessions to connect with other black students and offer resources from trained facilitators.
Some university mental health teams have given students the option to request a BAME counsellor or mental health professional when they book a mental health appointment. This gives students the opportunity to request to see someone who they may feel understands them, and their lived experience, more than a white counsellor.
The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network helps people from BAME communities find BAME counsellors, and also has mentoring programmes to encourage those from BAME backgrounds to enter counselling.
What is Hull University Students’ Union doing?
I have started a BAME mental health campaign to try and find out more about the experiences of BAME students and how the support services could more effectively meet your needs.
We have started a survey to ask you how you think your experience of and discrimination towards your culture or ethnicity has impacted your mental health, and what improvements you would like to see. Click here to access the survey. (It takes two minutes to complete!)
We will be holding an open forum for BAME students to give you the opportunity to talk more in detail about your experiences, and what you would like to see change in the wellbeing team, and on campus to benefit your mental health. Click here for the open forum.
If you have been affected by any of the topics discussed, these links below can support you;
Samaritans offers 24/7 support. Call 116 123
Crisis offers 24/7 text support. Simply text “SHOUT” to 85258
CALM offer support daily from 5pm-midnight. Call 0800 58 58 58
Hull University Students' Union
For further information please contact Evie Kyte, President of Inclusivity and Diversity
You can get in touch with our BAME students’ representative, Shekinah at [email protected]