UK Version Editorial 2 July

It is with great pleasure that I sit in as guest editor to introduce this edition of Make a Difference News, recognising Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

Being born in London and of Asian origin, racism was something that affected me from a young age. I was 11 years old when I first met someone who disliked the colour of my skin; 13 when I was first told to go back to my country; and 15 when I started thinking there was something wrong with me. I now realise that these experiences, and many others following, had a profound impact on my psychological wellbeing. And I can see how easily this could lead to mental health issues if the right support is not available.

Organisations, in my view, have a key role to play. I’m fortunate to work at HSBC where such support is available via employee networks focused on gender, age, ethnicity, faith and ability, to name just a few.

We’ve seen many brands respond to the Black Lives Matter movement in the past month, but I ask, are they all responding from a genuine place? There’s no point putting a black square on a corporate Instagram account if there’s no diversity in that company’s boardroom or senior leadership team. And if that is the case, have companies asked why there’s not? Now is the time for companies to ask those uncomfortable questions, so that they can truly drive positive social change. And we should look to those individuals and organisations who are currently leading the way.

First, read a case study on how Google and Alphabet’s progressive CEO, Sundar Pichai has committed to build sustainable equity, including culturally sensitive mental health support, for Google’s Black+ community.

Next, Claire Farrow outlines how The UK’s Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice – who received Legal & General’s Not a Red Card Collaboration Award – are bringing together different stakeholders to address mental health through sport amongst BAME communities.

In an exclusive interview Dr. Kamel Hothi, OBE shares her journey of breaking multiple glass ceilings as a senior global business executive and a woman from a traditional cultural background.

For employers seeking to provide culturally sensitive mental health support for staff, Henry Health’s Laura Holland Stokes outlines specific steps companies can take to ensure they’re providing the most effective provisions for their diverse workforce.

Research from Kooth indicates, children and young people from BAME backgrounds are showing greater increases in mental health problems than white peers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnny Quinn Alston & Wesley Alston give self-care tips approached through what they call, the Esteem Compass – which employers can suggest for minority staff (and for their families) to try at work or at home.

Finally, Heather Kelly cover’s another minority group who are susceptible to mental health problems in her interview with Garth Johnson, CEO of Auticon Canada. Johnson highlights how to best support neurodiverse staff in your workplace through his company’s recent impact report.

I hope you find this issue valuable and enjoyable.

Best wishes,                                                                                                                                                                    Sean Tolram


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