Most Muslim people in the UK are reluctant to use mental health services and think that the prejudice they face affects their mental health, said researchers today on World Mental Health Day.
According to a study carried out by Aap Ki Awaaz from the mental health charity Rethink, 61% of people in the Pakistani community believe the portrayals of Muslim people in the media, and society’s perception of them, damage their mental health.
But a large proportion of people of Pakistani origin are reluctant to access mental health services because of shame, fear and ignorance, found researchers.
Both language barriers and a lack of community-based services or woman-based services were highlighted as reasons for the low uptake in the number of Muslim people accessing mental health services.
This study was backed up by a separate survey by YouGov, published today, which found that 89% of people in the UK were more suspicious of Muslim people than 10 years ago.
About half of respondents agreed that mental health was affected by the way people were treated in society.
Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, who was involved in the Mental Health Bill (now an Act), urged health authorities to implement the government’s 2005 action plan, Delivering Race Equality, in mental health care.
He said accessing mental health services was a “serious problem” faced by minority communities today.
Meanwhile, a poll by Mind, showed that 63% of respondents did not think the NHS had improved its cultural understanding of the needs of ethnic minority communities over the past 10 years.
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental health in a changing world: the impact of culture and diversity’.