Schools, police and job centres should pool resources to fund and shape youth projects addressing mental health needs among young ethnic minority groups, the Centre for Mental Health says today.
Local authorities and health services should also contribute to a new mental health ‘concordat’ that the charity argue should be established by the government.
The call is made in Against The Odds, a publication celebrating the success of three Birmingham-based community engagement projects.
Drama, black history and community work
Against the Odds sites three projects that boosted the mental health of young men of black, Asian or other minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds through participation in drama, black history exploration and community work.
Participants often lived in communities with fewer educational, economic and employment opportunities.
Many had experienced the ‘wear and tear’ of everyday racism and discrimination.
“It’s loads of subtle things that wear you down,” one is quoted as saying, before speaking of the solidarity he found from being in a room with other men feeling the same way. “I then felt unstoppable.”
The report concludes racism to be a key explanatory factor in why black men have higher levels of diagnosed severe mental illness than other ethnic groups in the UK.
How does this story make you feel? Join our Twitter chat on race and mental health at 12pm today, Wednesday July 5, using the hashtag #mhtchat