Mental Health Awareness Week

Loneliness and BAMER communities

Feeling a sense of belonging in our community helps us feel less isolated. But a recent study of loneliness among people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds by the British Red Cross and Co-op found that 67 per cent of people from BAME backgrounds didn’t feel accepted and, consequently, were always or often lonely.

The report also revealed that people from BAME communities experienced increased likelihood of discrimination, which can impact a sense of belonging, and greater barriers to accessing help for loneliness and joining in community activities, including a lack of money and time.

Some minority ethnic communities also attach stigma to talking about feelings and the causes of loneliness, such as mental health issues, which can make it harder for people in those communities to seek support, the study found.

Loneliness and social isolation are also a huge challenge for refugees and asylum seekers. In a 2014 report by London-based charity The Forum, 58% of migrants and refugees described loneliness and isolation as their biggest challenge living in London.

How our peer groups help

In our film, Lewisham peer group participants Nalan and Terry, and peer group participant turned facilitator Shauna, chat to Peer Support Manager Smita about their personal experiences of loneliness and how attending the groups helped them cope.

“Even though mental health is a stigma within certain communities, coming to these groups, there’s no stigma, there’s just love.”

BLG Mind’s peer groups are safe spaces where you can meet up regularly with like-minded people and share mutual support. Find out more about our peer groups in:

Bromley
Lewisham
Greenwich

If you need more help

Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network – provides free, independent and confidential advice to refugee, asylum seeker and migrant communities.

Refugee Action – has spent 35 years helping refugees build safe and productive new lives in the UK.

The British Red Cross – can provide emotional support in more than 200 languages.