BAMEs At Increased Risk Of Mental Health Issues Due To Covid-19 & How Your Brand Can Help
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the mental health of people living in the UK. In a survey conducted by the charity Mind, it was found that two-thirds of people said that their mental health had worsened during the initial nationwide lockdown.
More specifically, new data shows that those from a BAME background are at a higher risk of joblessness and negative physical outcomes as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken a serious toll on their mental health.
A ‘Triple Whammy’ Of Bad News
A survey from the ONS found that people from a BAME background were more likely to experience adverse outcomes as a result of the pandemic than people from a white background.
The report found that 27% of black people said that they were finding it difficult to make financial ends meet in April, compared to 10% of white people. 58% of people from BAME backgrounds have had their employment affected in some way since the start of the pandemic, which is 11% higher than with white people. Furthermore, industries where BAME people are overrepresented as a percentage of the workforce, such as retail, accommodation and transport, have seen some of the highest numbers of redundancies during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, those from a BAME background have been found to be at a higher risk of dying from Covid-19. People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other black ethnicity had between a 10% and 50% higher risk of death when compared to those of a white British background. Black men and women in particular were found to be around 4% more likely to die from Covid-19 compared to their white counterparts.
Frances O’Grady, the General secretary of the trade union umbrella TUC, spoke about the extent to which BAME groups had been negatively affected and why that is the case: “BAME workers have faced a triple whammy of threats during the pandemic. Today’s figures show that BAME workers were less likely to be earning enough before the pandemic to avoid hardship during lockdown. BAME workers are more likely to be in low-paid, insecure jobs, where they have been more exposed to coronavirus and more likely to die,” she said.
Effect On Mental Health
These outcomes have had a knock-on effect on the overall mental health of BAME people in the UK. Another survey conducted by Mind found that 30% of BAME respondents said that problems with housing had made their mental health worse during the pandemic, compared with 23% of white respondents. Employment worries affected the mental health of 61% of BAME people, compared with 51% of white people. Concerns about finances worsened the mental health of 52% of BAME people, 7% higher than their white counterparts.
Marcel Vige, Head of Equality Improvement at Mind, pointed out the disparities between BAME groups and white groups in the UK when it came to mental health: “As society faces up to the discriminatory impact of coronavirus on particular BAME groups, including rates of infection and tragic loss of life, our survey provides evidence of how people within these groups are also being hit hardest by mental health problems stemming from economic impact of Covid-19 on areas such as housing and employment.”
How Can Brands Help?
Brands have been playing an increasingly important role in dispensing vital information about mental health in recent years. The online content platform LadBible created a wide range of video pieces and articles based around their series U OK M8? that sought to raise awareness around topics such as depression and anxiety, especially among younger people.
Other brands have created content based around events such as World Mental Health Day. Asics, Dune and ITV all published content raising awareness on that day. Among these campaigns, several focused on the negative impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on people’s mental health.
For BAME people who may be suffering from mental health issues, seeing campaigns like these could help them to access information that they need to get help. Furthermore, if they are seeking employment, knowing these companies take issues surrounding mental health seriously will make working for them all the more appealing.
There are three main steps, that according to a survey conducted in the US, that brands should take to help their employees: 1) 68% of workers say that companies should keep staff in the loop with daily updates throughout the pandemic; 2) 65% say that companies should provide emotional support; and 3) 55% say that online mental health resources should be provided.
Ensuring that BAME employees at your company are kept in the loop regarding how the pandemic is affecting your business could help ease anxieties about job security and uncertainty. Meanwhile, ensuring that BAME employees can receive the same quality of mental health care whilst working from home is another effective way to improve wellbeing.