Amplifying Diverse Voices During Mental Health Awareness Week

In my opinion, it was both sad and disappointing to see the recent Race Equalities finding which claimed that Britain was not an institutionally racist country and failed to recognise institutional racism.

After such a traumatic year across diverse communities, I was also disappointed to see that this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on nature.

Why do people from diverse communities continue to be traumatised?

I wish we could all learn as a society that everyone should be valued as a human being, regardless of the colour of your skin or socio -economic status. We all have value.

This week I read in the news that due to the rhetoric that blames Asian people for the spread of Covid 19, there has been a 150% increase in anti-Asian racist hate crimes in the last year.

From people being spat on, verbally harassed, physically assaulted, children bullied at school. An 86-year-old Chinese woman was even set on fire.

Many people of colour experience PTSD symptoms as a result of racism, race based hate crimes and even microaggressions in the workplace.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Race Based Traumatic Stress (RBTS) both have similar signs and symptoms which include hypervigilence, flashbacks, nightmares, feeling anxious and difficulty sleeping.

One of my clients described the impact of microaggressions as;

‘Death by a thousand cuts, because it’s just one microaggression, it isn’t really going to affect you too much, but you get so many of them and you internalise it, so much that it can really impact your self-esteem and mental health’

The result of microaggressions, microinsults and microinterventions are so commonplace, it can seem as if tackling them will not solve anything and going through the day thinking, were they being racist, or am I being sensitive is here to stay!

‘It is the hardest type of racism to deal with because it is something that happens so often and yet is so difficult to even point out’

Amplifying diverse voices

The accumulation of racially motivated stressful incidents and feelings of invalidation can result in people refraining from talking about their pain, a lonely experience which leaves people feeling that they just need to live with it!

Nature is fantastic and well worth highlighting, but we need to shine a light on race and mental health, as everyone deserves to develop and have the opportunity to succeed in a physically and psychologically safe environment, both at home and in the workplace.

Join our growing network of employers
Receive Make A Difference News straight to your inbox

The Diverse Minds Summit, is a one- day summit, which hosts a combination of live workshops and conversations, tackling some of the most important topics impacting race and mental health across diverse communities.

It’s for both professionals and people suffering with mental health issues during mental health awareness week, to amplify diverse voices.

We are excited to announce an awesome line up of speakers, including Ferron Gray, Founder of Grae Matta Group dedicated to improving mental health in higher education and the workplace.

The Pain & Paradox of Bias with Sejal Thakker, Maternity and Black Women with Maxine Obeng and other diverse mental health topics, including Neurodiversity, Children & Young People’s Mental Health, Dementia, and much more.

If you would like to amplify diverse voices during mental health awareness week or are interested in mental health topics which impact diverse communities. You can register here to attend the summit. You may attend live or watch later on demand. Let’s make 2021 the year everything changes!

About the author

Marteka Swaby is Founder of Benevolent Health. She is passionate about enhancing human connection with over 15 year’s clinical experience, helping individuals, teams and organisations to flourish and reach their full potential. She is an expert in Mental Health, Founder of Benevolent Health, improving emotional wellbeing through coaching, consulting and mentoring.


Sign up to receive Make A Difference's fortnightly round up of features, news, reports, case studies, practical tools and more for employers who want to make a difference to work culture, mental health and wellbeing.