BME Mental Health

Black and Minority Ethnic Mental HealthDiverse Cymru provides support, services and advice to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people throughout Wales who are affected by mental ill health

A number of reports have highlighted that although there is an over-representation of BME adults within the mental health services there is also an under-representation of BME young people accessing mental health services. Furthermore, BME people are less likely to be referred by a GP for support despite this leading to higher percentages than average later being admitted to hospital with chronic mental health problems.

As part of Diverse Cymru’s mission we are striving to make positive differences in these statistics, using our unique position to raise awareness both within Wales’ BME communities and among health care professionals, of the additional issues and barriers that face BME people around accessing mental health services.

We want people to feel confident and comfortable when accessing services, and for health care practitioners to feel more knowledgeable when facing the complexities of the issues that some BME people face in seeking help.

Our projects

All-Wales BME Mental Health Project

Funded by the Welsh Government as part of their Section 64 grants, the All-Wales BME Mental Health Project focuses on representing the views, opinions and experiences of BME adults with mental ill health to policy makers and practitioners at a strategic level. This engagement helps ensure that the barriers specific to BME people are taken into account in the development and implementation of legislation, policies, procedures and practices throughout Wales.

As part of this project Diverse Cymru is a partner in the High Needs Collaborative alongside Hafal, The Mental Health Foundation and Bipolar UK and aims to help support and empower people who have a serious mental illness, their families and carers so that they are able to have more choice and control over their care and the services they need to live as independently as possible.

The High Needs Collaborative is now expanding the scope of this work through Reaching Out: A new three-year project which will extend our reach substantially to include specialist support and engagement with LGBT, BME and disabled people, and their carers, with a serious mental illness.

Cardiff and Vale BME Mental Health Support and Befriender Project

Commissioned by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, the Cardiff BME Mental Health Support and Befriender project offers a Recovery-based, holistic and one-to-one approach that focuses on empowerment and self-discovery for people affected by mental ill health such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders etc.

We help people to increase their independence, improve their wellbeing and promote recovery for those that struggle to access conventional interventions.

Our services include:

  • An individual Recovery plan – Collaborating with clients to identify individual goals and ideal paths to recovery
  • Support in the community – Help and support with everyday situations
  • Information and advice
  • Befriending – Befriending volunteers are trained and supported by Diverse Cymru to provide an informal social outlet to people who are isolated by their mental ill-health
  • Signposting for individuals, family members and carers
  • Hospital and GP visits
  • Understanding and encouragement

Who we work with:

  • People from African, African/Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani communities
  • The long-established 3rd and 4th generation mixed parentage population of Cardiff
  • Asylum seekers and refugees

Who can make a referral?:

  • Potential clients can self-refer
  • Voluntary and community organisations
  • Agencies working with homeless people
  • Housing support workers
  • Social services
  • Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs)
  • GPs and other health professionals
  • Probation services
  • Refugees and Asylum Seeker organisations

Get Your Kicks On: All-Wales BME Mental Health Project for Young Men aged 14 - 25

Following our report Better Outcomes, New Approach Diverse Cymru identified the need to work proactively with professionals and young men to improve awareness and access around mental health and mental health services. To achieve this Diverse Cymru, funded by the Welsh Government, has employed a BME Mental Health Youth Worker who, working specifically with young BME men aged 14 – 25 in Cardiff, Newport, Wrexham and Swansea, will be holding focus groups to gain their insights and views on the issues that affect them.

The findings will help form the basis of training courses and awareness raising sessions for youth services, CAMHS and other professional organisations whose work includes young BME men in order to improve cultural sensitivity and inclusion.

Get Your Kicks On will also help young BME men to get a better understanding of mental health and mental ill health by delivering workshops that will include music, videos and other interactive media, and will empower them to make informed decisions about their mental health and wellbeing.

By making information more available and more accessible we hope to allow young men across the BME Communities in Wales to see past the stigma around mental illness and improve their awareness of services as well as building confidence in accessing mental health services which, as a result of their input, are more engaged, more inclusive and more understanding of their needs.

All-Wales BME Mental Health and Social Care Advocacy Project

The BME Mental Health and Advocacy Project is a 3 year scheme, running from June 2013 to June 2016, funded by Comic Relief. Comic Relief

It aims to address the inequalities faced by BME people in accessing mental health, social care and advocacy services by gathering information from their lived experiences to help form the basis of training courses and awareness raising sessions for mental health and advocacy service providers working across all of Wales. In doing so Diverse Cymru promotes more inclusive and appropriate options for aid, assistance and support whilst also raising awareness within BME Communities around mental health, social care and advocacy issues and accessing appropriate services.

We deliver this project by providing a range of training courses and support services, which include:

  • A free one-day Agored accredited training course – Introduction to BME Mental Health Issues
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing awareness sessions for BME community groups and community members
  • Supporting organisations to incorporate an awareness and sensitivity around BME issues into their service provision, staff training and policies.
  • Information stalls and events at venues around Wales
  • Working with Community Champions – Diverse Cymru recruits and trains BME volunteers who bring their experience into raising awareness of BME Mental ill Health and are able to speak out within and on behalf of their communities, helping bridge the gap with mental health services

BME Mental Health Awareness Raising Sessions

The BME Mental Health awareness raising sessions use a mixture of theory and best practice to create a better understanding of the barriers and difficulties facing people from BME communities with mental ill health. The groups are interactive and participatory and are guided by the values of respect, honesty and inclusivity. By the end of a session participants will have:

  • Become more aware of the cultural and religious issues faced by BME individuals
  • Explored how to address these issues
  • Considered the reasons for the disproportionate BME referrals and detention
  • Considered the potential barriers that may be faced by BME individuals

The BME Mental Health awareness raising sessions can be delivered as a half day or a full day.


Resource Library


For all enquiries and referrals, or to find out more about BME Mental Health Awareness Raising sessions, please contact the BME Mental Health team on 029 2036 8888 option 4.

At Diverse Cymru our aims, ideals and services are all based around empowering and uplifting the voices of people facing inequality across Wales.

Have your say and help us keep our work true to this principle and true to the needs of our clients.