The group define social inequalities and explain how they impact on mental health. Andy shares the findings of the Centre for Mental Health’s Commission for Equality in Mental Health reports. Rose gives examples of how this affects Black /African women. For example, how the lack of trust by official bodies, language barriers, parenting issues, economic issues and immigration status combine to impact on these women's mental health. Then due to mental health stigma, there is little recognition of these problems.
The group explores how early life has profound effects on mental health, income and other outcomes. Kate shares an example of bullying statistics from the Born in Bradford study, and discusses why the UK is ranked lower than other Western countries for child wellbeing and how this impacts on inequalities. Rose demonstrates how this plays out in the real world, with rigid systems preventing access to services. Covid has also had an impact - highlighting pre-existing inequalities and amplifying the effect on mental health.
The discussion turns to solutions. At the national level, the need for substantial policy changes and a move away from seeing mental health as an individual responsibility. At a local level, involving communities in meaningful co-production of interventions. This requires mutual respect and trust, as well as a commitment to accepting other communities and cultures. Finally, each guest shares one thing they would like for people listening to take away:
- For local authorities to focus on root causes and systemic inequalities that underpin public mental health, as this will fix mental health as well as other health issues.
- To own your patch, whatever it might be - ask what else you can do to help.
- Go out to schools, youth organisations, community groups and spend time listening. Don’t accept that things are immovable.