We can all experience difficult times with our mental health, whatever our backgrounds or what our lives are like. But there are some things that can make facing mental health challenges more difficult, or more likely: 

A different kind of childhood 

A child with a chronic health condition, a disability, or sensory needs may find that people are less sure of how to look after them, and the care that we should all receive as children may not always be provided.

The same goes for a child in a family of low income where the parental figure(s) are often absent while in work, or exhausted from long hours when they are home. This is something that tends to more often affect families from cultural backgrounds that are a minority in the UK, often because of barriers presented by society. 

Feeling or being seen and treated as ‘different’ by those around us 

People from groups that are in the minority are often treated differently – whether that’s their cultural background, sexual or gender identity, a disability, or anything that marks them out from their peers.  

This experience alone can be really difficult to deal with, even when no harm was intended. The power to determine our identity is really important to us as humans, and when society makes this harder for us, it can have a negative impact. Being seen as ‘different’ can also make it harder to find or access appropriate mental health support. 

Equality is good for all of us, even people that aren’t considered to be in a minority group, because it encourages a society that cares for and welcomes all. 

Equality is the best therapy t-shirt.

The power of community 

Finding a community that you resonate with is an important aspect of healing. It can be frustrating and lonely if we can’t find a community that we can identify or be our true selves with. It can lead to a feeling of loneliness or of not being accepted, which can feel even worse if we also rarely see ourselves represented in the culture around us. This is particularly important if we are considered to be part of a minority group due to our ethnicity, religion or sexuality.  

Find out more about the importance of community here. 

Resources and links to find specific support  and communities 

Black mental health matters (youngminds.org.uk) – a brief page written by a black young person and their experience of how race and mental health are related 

BAME and mental health | Mental Health Foundation – a wordier but also more complete overview on the mental health concerns for various minority groups 

BAME Groups / Organisations in Wales (eyst.org.uk) – a directory of support services in Wales who are actively inclusive of diverse communities and/or specialise in supporting specific issues BAME people may experience 

Layout 1 (raceequalityfoundation.org.uk) – the race equality foundation’s report on racial disparities in mental health (2019) 

Boloh – the Black and Asian family Covid-19 Helpline | BAME Helpline (barnardos.org.uk) – info on what it says on the tin, by Bernado’s, nationwide 

Information, Advice and Support for Black & Minority Ethnic Women in Wales (bawso.org.uk)

Ep. 4 Hair on Vimeo

Mental health and being LGBTQ+ (youngminds.org.uk) –  brief page written by an LGBTQIA+ young person about their experience of how their sexuality and mental health are related 

Looking after my mental health while questioning my sexuality (youngminds.org.uk) – a helpful blog by a young person about questioning their sexuality and the role of looking after their emotional wellbeing while facing this question 

MindOut | Mental Health Charity for LGBTQ community – excellent website for support, finding a community, and more if you are part of the LGBTQIA++ community 

Galop – The LGBT+ anti-violence charity – a charity dedicated to work against violent hate crimes towards LGBTQIA+ people, including specifically young people 

Our Stories – Being Transgender – Platfform4YP – a blog on trans matters on P4YP 

Information and resources | Stonewall

How I learnt to accept myself – and my disability (youngminds.org.uk)

How I manage my mental health alongside chronic illness (youngminds.org.uk)

Ep.2 We Shouldn’t Be Stopped on Vimeo

Ep.1 Daily Challenges of Being Blind on Vimeo

Long-term conditions and mental health Chris Naylor February 2012 (kingsfund.org.uk) – a rather long report on ‘co-morbidity’- which means when two (or more) health needs (mental or physical or both) are experienced by one person. It goes into finances and so forth, but in the first part also covers how frequently and why this may happen 

Long-term physical conditions and mental health | Mental Health Foundation

A podcast by the Mental Health Foundation’s Head of Policy & Research Iris Elliott on poverty & mental health 

Ending poverty and improving mental health | Mental Health Foundation

Homelessness and mental health | Mental Health Foundation

Body image

Women and mental health | Mental Health Foundation

Gender and mental health

Girls facing “perfect storm” of pressures