We are pleased to launch the report on ‘Improving the Mental Health of South Asian Populations in the UK’.
Commissioned by the ‘Ethnic Inclusion Foundation’, the report is produced in partnership with CAREIF, a mental health organisation. The partnership offers synergies to benefit the communities which we aim to serve. Ethnic Inclusion brings a wealth of knowledge about the South Asian community through its work in Britain and the Indian sub-continent, whilst Careif’s knowledge is on mental health, wellbeing, and training in the UK and Internationally.
The purpose of the report is to sensitise and engage key opinion formers when formulating mental health policy, and for practitioners of clinical and therapeutic interventions when dealing with mental wellbeing affecting South Asians in the UK.
The report is based on literature and observations from published work with further input by professionals in the field of mental health.
South Asians living in the UK face a unique set of mental health challenges related to biological, psychological, social, cultural, and environmental risks during their lifetime.
This report sets out clear evidence of their mental health status and challenges and whilst we are grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges, such as economic and climate change, mental health issues are very much on the rise. Infact it was the disproportionate effects of Covid -19 on minorities that provided the impetus for Ethnic Inclusion to commission this work.
There is considerable research evidence that South Asian Communities have disproportionately higher rates of psychiatric disorders – and yet they are less likely to seek help. Often these are complicated by other health and social inadequacies such as poor housing, overcrowding and unemployment. The picture today is that there is an enormous amount of work being undertaken at grassroots level to help mental health, but often not utilised in interventions.
As such, the voice of the service user has been lacking in the NHS reports reviewed, and therefore does not translate into the planning of mental health programmes.
The report indicates that more needs to be done in engaging not only these communities, but also commissioners of mental health services and policymakers. Primary and Secondary Care services need to work with Public Mental Health to ensure that mental health needs of the South Asian communities are met in a culturally appropriate and culturally sensitive manner.
Santosh Bhanot PhD
Trustee, Ethnic Inclusion Foundation