Racism has impacted on Black people’s mental health throughout history, and it continues to shape the lives and mental health of Black people today. This Black History Month and beyond, we need to do everything we can to ensure it doesn’t continue to affect our present.
We know that in England, Black men are four times more likely to be admitted against their will to hospital for treatment, and three times more likely to be restrained or held in isolation while in hospital than white men. Despite research showing that people exposed to racism are more likely to experience mental health problems, Black people are less likely to receive therapy. Systemic inequality has also meant Black people have faced higher risks of illness and death from coronavirus, making many people’s mental health worse at an already difficult time.
As campaigners, we know the reasons for these inequalities are deeply rooted in historic and systemic racism.
At Mind, we have a proud history of supporting groups that face discrimination and unequal support for their mental health. Our policy and campaigning work is no exception: with your help, we have campaigned to bring in ‘Seni’s law’ to dramatically reduce the use of restraint in mental health services, and we are still fighting to combat the racial disparities in the use of the Mental Health Act and other mental health services.
But we know that this isn’t enough. The Black Lives Matter movement and the disproportionate impact coronavirus has had on Black people has made us examine how we address systemic racism – both in our campaigning work, and in the organisation as a whole.
In our new strategy for 2021, we are committing to becoming an anti-racist organisation. We are undertaking an organisation wide review to identify what we must do to achieve this goal.
We know it won’t be easy, but creating change never is, as all campaigners know. We look forward to sharing this journey with you.
The Mind Campaigns Team