We’ve compiled some of the key stats and facts relating to the mental health of Black people in the UK. This is not a complete list but is just some of the research that shows the inequalities facing Black people when it comes to their mental health.
Despite higher prevalence, Black adults have the lowest mental health treatment rate of any ethnic group, at 6% (compared to 13% in the White British group). NHS Digital (2016) Mental Health and Wellbeing in England, Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014 England
Evidence suggests that people from BAME communities are at higher risk of developing a mental health problem in adulthood but are less likely to receive support for their mental health.
People from Black communities are more likely than average to experience a common mental health problem in any given week. Percentage experiencing a common mental health problem in the last week by ethnicity:
The prevalence of symptoms relating to psychosis is higher in Black men than other ethnic groups (3.2% compared to 0.3% White men and 1.3% Asian men - using combined 2007 and 2014 data.) There is no significant variation by ethnic group among women.
8% of Black or Black British adults have symptoms relating to post-traumatic stress disorder compared with 4% of their White British counterparts.
Boys from African and Caribbean communities in the UK have lower levels of mental health problems at age 11 compared to White or mixed heritage boys. However, national data shows that African and Caribbean men in the UK have a significantly higher likelihood of developing some types of mental health problem during their adult (e.g. symptoms relating to schizophrenia, and to a lesser extent post-traumatic stress disorder). This does not occur in countries with a predominantly Black population, and appears to be an environmental risk related to experiences in northern Europe and the United States.
Black people are more likely to access treatment through a police or criminal justice route (Black and mixed Black groups are between 20 per cent and 83 per cent more likely to be referred from the criminal justice system than average)
Care Quality Commission (2010). Count me in 2010: results of the 2010 national census of inpatients and patients on supervised community treatment in mental health and learning disability services in England and Wales’
A disproportionate number of people from BAME communities are detained under the Mental Health Act. Rates of detention for Black or Black British groups over four times those of White groups, whilst Community Treatment Orders for Black or Black British groups are over eight times those of White groups.
Black people are more likely to be detained more than once.
Black people are three times more likely to be the subject of ‘restrictive interventions’ such as being restrained or held in isolation while in hospital.
Black and Black British women are more likely to experience a common mental health problem (29%) compared to White British women (21%) and non-British White women (16%).
"People from Black and Minority Ethnic groups living in the UK are more likely to:
A recent study of nearly 15,000 young people accessing mental health services found that young people from Minority Ethnic backgrounds were more likely to be referred to mental health services through routes such as youth justice and social services, than they were through perceived ‘voluntary’ routes such as primary care.
Experiences of racism has been linked to increased likelihood of developing depression; hallucinations and delusions; and if physical assault is involved, post-traumatic stress.
If you have a question that is not answered here or would like to find out more about something, get in touch with our Equality Improvement team at [email protected]. You can also find out more about our equality and human right work.