Lets talk about the taboo subject Mental health/mental illness. Within BME communities there has always been great stigma associated with mental health even though everyone one of us has mental health. The World health Organisation states there is no health without mental health. Our mental health is just like our physical health, if your leg is broken you ensure you go to the hospital or your doctor, the similar notion should be taken with your mental health,we have to look after it.

When it comes to mental illness, it doesn’t discriminate, anyone can suffer from a mental illness however, due to the stigma that is associated with mental illness from the BME communities we don’t want to talk about it or we try to disassociate ourselves from those that are suffering from this illness. Mental is normally not mention outside of their communities, as some cultures see this as shame on the family or the ones suffering are referred to as mad. Did you know that one in four of us suffer from from a mental illness. Imagine it like this, you have a group of five friends there is a probably cause that one person in the group is suffering from a form of mental illness.

In general, people from black and minority ethnic groups living in the UK are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems, more likely to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital, more likely to experience a poor outcome from treatment or more likely to disengage from mainstream mental health services, leading to social exclusion and a deterioration in their mental health. African Caribbean people living in the UK have lower rates of common mental disorders than other ethnic groups but are more likely to be diagnosed with severe mental illness. African Caribbean people are three to five times more likely than any other group to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital for schizophrenia. (Source) Some research has suggested this is because mental illness within this group is normally not treated at an early stage, mental health services are not access due to stigma.

The key thing to remember about mental illness, you don’t have to be a expert to support someone who is suffering depression, anxiety or any common mental illness. There are various resources out there however, time to change has provided this very simple step you can follow so as to enable you to start a conversation. With so many avenues of communications of late, I find communication with each other has become limited nonetheless, not many people take the time out to see how you really are. Why don’t we take some time out of our busy schedule to check on someone you haven’t heard from in a while.

I implore all of us to break the stigma and start talking about mental illness. The more support you give the better able is that person is to get better. Time to change is running an awesome campaign and has loads of information to offer.

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