It’s no doubt that black and Asian ethnic minorities are over-represented in mental health services, particularly diagnosed with medium to severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia. However, as schizophrenia affects a small percentage of the population, most of us will never experience it, or may never see its effects beyond our television screens. But, with depression affecting nearly 1 in 6 people in the UK, it has become the most common mental disorder in Britain.
The main symptoms are:
• Losing pleasure in things that were once enjoyable, losing interest in other people and usual activities, isolating yourself from others
• Disturbances of sleep, appetite, memory, focus, and mood; experiencing erratic emotions
• Feelings of guilt and worthlessness, severe low self-esteem and low confidence, excessively self-critical
• Feelings of anxiety, desire to self-harm, feelings or thoughts of a suicidal nature
Within BME communities, it is often expected that those who do suffer from clinical depression will have a strong community, religious or family base, from where they can receive support.
But we know this is not always the case.
So if you feel like you may be depressed, and that maybe the people around you may not understand what you’re feeling or going through, book an appointment and go and see your GP to discuss it with him or her. They should be able to help you and it will be purely confidential.
Depending on the severity of your depression and how long you’ve been suffering from it, there are a range of treatments, like a psychological therapy called CBT, exercise programmes, as well as medication to help lift your mood and get you back to yourself again.
Samantha Chioma – Mental health enthusiast.