'Mental health' refers to our psychological, emotional and social wellbeing which can impact on how we think and feel. With the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day being ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’, we wanted to look in a greater depth at the challenges that people from different communities may face in getting mental health support.
According to Our World in Data, anxiety is the most common mental illness in the world, affecting 284 million people globally. Access to mental health services however remains unequal, with the World Federation for Mental Health reporting that 75% to 95% of people with mental disorders in low and middle-income countries are unable to access mental health services. The Mental Health Foundation states that refugees and asylum seekers are more likely to experience common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, in comparison to the rest of the general population. Members of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities have reported facing racism, inequality and mental health stigma. Mind’s study of 14,000 adults addresses the challenges that BAME communities have faced, and demonstrates that these have worsened since the pandemic. Inequalities in employment, housing, finances and other issues have had a greater impact on the mental health of people from different BAME groups in comparison to white people during the pandemic.
It’s important that all communities feel supported, and here at TALKWORKS we want to overcome some of the barriers that different groups are facing. As a service, we have formed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and BAME project teams to link with community groups across Devon to help improve access to our services for minority groups. One particular project we have been working on is to ensure that our service has a library of easily accessible materials for both practitioners and patients in a variety of languages. We have audited the quality and content to make sure that any translated information is of the highest possible standards. We are also seeking to refine the process of working with interpreters, further developing the service for people where English is not their first language.
Our EDI and BAME groups are hoping to improve our offering to students from minority faith and ethnic backgrounds, and work more closely with these communities. We have also arranged to attend a meeting with the Devon Faith and Belief Forum so that we can learn from the public about the potential barriers specific communities face when seeking support for mental health. We hope that by improving links with community groups in Devon, we will be able to help improve access to TALKWORKS for minority groups.
As a service, we are also working to build stronger links with Age UK Devon to support the older population in Devon. We are looking to explore ways in which our mental wellbeing workshops can better meet the needs of the older population by improving accessibility to those who are unable to access our workshops online.
TALKWORKS has always worked hard to support our LGBTQI+ community in Devon. Some of the teams enjoy attending pride and diversity events, in person and remotely, to spread the word about the service, but also to explore what difficulties this community faces in getting access to the support they need. We have benefitted hugely from working with the Intercom Trust service to explore how to work more collaboratively together to better support the people that the service sees. Intercom Trust has provided some extremely beneficial training to the teams across the service, to help our therapists understand how we can be more inclusive, and better support the individual needs of people in the LGBTQI+ community.
Our service is inclusive and open to anyone over the age of 18, no matter what their ethnicity, sexuality, religion or gender is. We are part of the NHS and we do not discriminate. We value each person as an individual and everyone we see is treated equally.
If you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed or feeling a bit low and are unsure why, our talking therapists are here to help you. Please do not wait until you hit rock bottom before reaching out and getting in touch. You can find out more information about our services and how we can help on the homepage of our website.
Posted by Nicky Haycock on 15 November, 2023