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Understanding difference

Mind has a longstanding history of supporting people facing multiple discrimination, including discrimination because of their mental health problems as well as on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, sexuality or disability.

It’s essential that people’s rights are protected regardless of these characteristics, and that everyone is treated fairly, equally and with dignity and respect.

People with mental health problems place significant importance on feeling equal to others; their lived experience should in no way put them at a disadvantage, and rather than devalue, it should enhance what they have to offer.

Understanding different communities and cultures and their perspectives on mental health is vitally important. There is a taboo around mental health in many cultures which, for people who identify themselves as ‘different’, can add an extra layer of distress.

The impact of heightened stigma in these communities can often be worse than the mental health problem itself. But, engaging in a meaningful way with people in diverse and minority communities, and empowering them to influence and participate, can help break down barriers.

Case study

Mind, in partnership with Suffolk Mind, embarked on a project to better engage with Muslim groups and meet their emotional needs in a culturally appropriate way. This enabled the development of The Qur’an & Emotional Health: An Introduction booklet. Read more… 

Jonathan's video

Jonathan Andrews, who has autism, became involved with Mind’s work in disability equality after writing an article about autism and anxiety. In this film, Jonathan talks about his experience of taking part in Mind’s work and influencing related campaigns at a parliamentary level.

Case study

The Mill is a local Mind in Oxford, which works collaboratively with people with lived experience. Service users report that the approach taken by The Mill really enhances their sense of equality and inclusion. Read more…

Useful links

Mind has developed a series of diversity and difference top tips to help you think more about embracing and engaging with diversity here.

You can also find more information on:

  • Working with people with autism and empowering them to influence and participate in your work here.
  • Commissioning mental health services for vulnerable migrants: guidance for commissioners here.
  • Guidance for mental health service providers to develop LGBTQ+ affirmative practices here.

Enabling people with lived experience to participate and influence at Mind has enhanced staff understanding of the issues at the centre of the charity’s work. It has also helped us to shape and develop campaigns, programmes and services. This, in turn, improves the support staff provide as part of those services. Staff are also encouraged to consider their own lived experience in the context of their work.


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