Support for BAME community in new mental health plan

Pic: Ximena Martinez

A new five-year strategy to help counter mental health issues was launched this week by Tower Hamlets Council.

The plan, which will run from 2019-2024, aims to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues in Tower Hamlets, where over 50,000 adults suffer from depression and anxiety.

The council has agreed that not enough is being done to cater for the borough’s growing BAME community, where stigma surrounding mental health is particularly prevalent.

Councillor Amina Ali said: “Families from ethnic minorities are still feeling like they are being tarnished with that ‘us versus them’ narrative that was around in the nineties. That’s why they aren’t coming forward for help”.

Dr Somem Banerjee talks through the strategy Pic: Tom McGhie

Tower Hamlets is one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs in London; over two thirds of its population are non-white British. In conjunction, adults in the area are reported as having the highest levels of depression and anxiety in the capital.

The aims of the new strategy seek to remedy what seems to be an alarming correlation between Tower Hamlets’ diverse population and rising mental illness.

Dr. Paul Gilluley, Chief Medical Officer for East London NHS said: “It’s a much broader strategy than the last, that can hopefully help address the needs of the borough’s vastly diverse population.”

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