Diverse Cymru awarded £226,727 to ensure that the voices of Black Minority Ethnic (BME) people with mental health issues are heard.
“Third sector organisations in Wales play a key role in supporting those with mental health problems. The projects we are funding will provide additional services to individuals which will complement those already delivered by the Welsh NHS and other public sector partners.”
The funding, which is part of a £3million package from the Welsh Government that was announced during Mental Health Awareness Week, will allow Diverse Cymru to continue to deliver the only BME specific mental health project in Wales for the next three years. A number of reports have highlighted that there is an over-representation of BME adults within the mental health services and an under-representation of BME young people accessing mental health services. BME people are less likely to be referred by a GP for support, yet higher percentages than average end up being admitted to hospital. Director of Operations Suzanne Duval said:
“This funding will allow BME people a voice in the highest areas of the health service, where they have been forgotten about for too long. Mental ill health is already a stigma, but when combined with ethnicity it can lead to further discrimination. “We also need to understand the reasons why BME people are not engaging with the health service and ask BME people what barriers they face to accessing services and how we can address these, so that we can provide support with earlier interventions.”
There is a clear, definite and vital need to work proactively to prevent people from reaching a crisis point, which for BME people is often the point where they first come to the attention of services. This project will allow Diverse Cymru to work with BME people across Wales to collect views, represent them at a strategic level and then deliver training to further increase awareness. Following Diverse Cymru’s report “Better Outcomes, New Approach” Diverse Cymru identified that the need to work proactively with professionals and young people to improve awareness and access to services. To achieve this Diverse Cymru has employed a new BME Mental Health Youth Worker whose project will help young BME people to connect earlier to more engaged and understanding mental health services.