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Biological Psychology

Why do BAME/non-White people have differing instances of mental health?

It has been well documented that there are differences in instances of mental health amongst ethnic minorities, but what are the reasons behind this?
Factors that can influence mental health in BAME/non-White individuals:
  • Racism and discrimination
  • Social and economic inequaltites:
    • Experiencing poverty and homelessness
    • Doing less well at school
    • Unemployment
    • In contact with the criminal justice system
    • Challenges accessing services
  • Stigma around mental health
Barriers in getting support in BAME/non-White individuals:
  • Not recognising they have a mental illness because mental health was stigmatised or never talked about in their community
  • Not knowing that help is available, or where to go to get it
  • Language barriers
  • Turning to family or friends rather than professional support, especially for people who don’t trust formal healthcare services
  • Financial barriers, such as paying for private counselling
  • Not feeling listened to or understood by healthcare professionals
  • White professionals not understanding their experiences of racism or discrimination
It's important to note that some groups have better mental health:
    • Indian, Pakistani and African-Caribbean people have higher levels of mental wellbeing than other ethnic groups
    • Suicidal thoughts and self-harm were less common in Asian people than White people
    • Mental illness is lower among Chinese people than White people