Counselling for Ethnic Minorities (BAME)

Counselling for ethnic minorities

Have you faced racial prejudice and discrimination?
Do you feel confused and that you are living two separate lives at times?
Do you sometimes feel that no-one understands you?
Does this lack of understanding leave you feeling lonely and isolated?
Do you speak a different language at home and English outside of your home?

How can we help…

 We recognise that much work needs to be done to improve cultural competency within mental health services in the UK. We are committed to meeting this need through provision of our counselling for ethnic minorities service.  It is inclusive of all people and communities. We pride ourselves on using culturally appropriate interventions so that people feel safe, heard and supported.  During your assessment with us, we explore cultural and language barriers as well as factors such as religion, race, sexuality and affiliations to best support you. 

The first of many barriers for BAME people wishing to access counselling in the UK is that of language. Many services lack interpreting, translating and literacy support, however we strive to create and retain a diverse counselling for ethic minorities team who speak, read and write many different languages.  


Faith related needs are also recognised as being neglected in many mental health services within the UK. We acknowledge that people are made up of multiple identities which often overlap. For example identifying with different aspects of self such as; faith, ethnicity, gender and sexuality.  We are committed to training our therapists to understand the nuances and challenges that these intersecting factors bring to ensure our support is appropriate and multifaceted.

Counselling for Ethnic Minorities – Adults

Many groups of people have suffered, and continue to suffer, from prejudices based on their religion and/or skin colour.  Some people who come to the UK seeking asylum or as immigrants face challenges and obstacles when it comes to integrating into communities within the UK.  Furthermore, ingrained prejudices and systemic racism remain relevant to BAME people who have been born in the UK. Using talking therapy, you can process and differentiate what identity means to you.

Factors impacting BAME Mental Health & Wellbeing

Racism & Discrimination
Systemic racism and racial prejudice remains prevalent within the UK and this is often a factor which contributes to, or compounds, mental health difficulties in BAME groups. A BAME person’s experience of racism can range from casual slights to explicit racist remarks or physical and verbal aggression. For those individuals who are exposed to racism, research has shown that they are more likely to experience depression or psychosis.
Social & Economic Inequalities
Often as a result of racism and discrimination, BAME people are left faced with a number of social and economic disadvantages in society. For example, BAME communities are more likely to experience poverty, they have poorer educational outcomes, higher unemployment, more contact with the criminal justice system and face challenges accessing professional services (Mental Health Foundation, 2020). Each of these disadvantages is known to contribute to and maintain poor mental health.
Mental Health Stigma
Different communities understand and view mental health in different ways and this can lead to people struggling with mental health challenges to face stigma and, subsequently, shame. When mental health struggles are seen in a negative light by a person’s community it can make it very difficult for that person to come forwards and seek out help and support. This, in turn, contributes to ongoing and deteriorating mental health.
Criminal Justice System
Within the criminal justice system, and particularly within the youth justice system, there are many unmet mental health needs amongst BAME groups. A report in 2016 demonstrated that within the youth justice system in England and Wales over 40% of children are from BAME backgrounds and that of these more than one third have an unrecognised mental health problem (Taylor, 2016).
Disability, Sexuality, Gender & Age
Disability, sexuality, gender and age all contribute to the inequalities faced by BAME people accessing services for physical and mental health. These other aspects can lead to a ‘double disadvantage’ for people from BAME communities.

Counselling for Ethnic Minorities – Young People

Many young people from ethnic minority groups experience stigma, bullying, isolation and sometimes violence from others growing up in the UK. These experiences can contribute to the development of depression and/or anxiety as well as other mental health challenges. They can also lead a young person to dislike themselves or their physiology (skin colour, hair texture). This dislike of self can impact a young person’s self-esteem and resilience and can leave a lasting imprint on their adult lives. Processing these painful and traumatic experiences with a therapist can result in a clearer understanding of these events for the young person. Therapy can also help a BAME young person focus on their strengths and the advantages that they may have. For example, they may be able to operate daily in multiple languages and cultures.
Factors impacting BAME Young People and their Mental Health
  • Many studies have found that BAME adults are more likely to experience ill health (Ethnicity and Health, 2007) and that they are at greater risk of mental health problems (A forward view of mental health, 2016).  As a result of this, BAME adults are likely to have an unrecognised and unsupported health or mental health need.  In these circumstances, the adult’s care often falls on other members of the family, including children.  Young carers are 1.5 times more likely to come from BAME communities (Hidden View, 2013).
  • A report conducted by the Education Policy Institute (2020) found that BAME young people were more likely to access anonymous support services, such as online counselling rather than mainstream mental health services.  This report highlighted that the stigma and shame often impacts mental health issues in BAME young people.
  • BAME people are subjected to involuntary psychiatric hospitalisation more often than other groups and this is particularly true of young black men who are often stereotyped as being ‘dangerous’ and ‘criminal’.
  • Research has shown that BAME children and young people often face ‘adultification’ – the experience of being seen and treated as being older than they actually are. This perception of BAME children has led to them accessing less nurture, less protection, less support and more independence than their white contemporaries. Adultification often contributes to the development and maintenance of mental health difficulties in BAME children and young people.