Redbridge Talking Therapies psychotherapist: Covid-19 and the effects on BAME mental health - There is hope!

Dr Gurmit Dhillon, a psychologist from Talking Therapies Redbridge on the effects of Covid-19 on men

Dr Gurmit Dhillon, a psychologist from Talking Therapies Redbridge on the effects of Covid-19 on mental health in BAME communities. - Credit: Archant

Dr Gurmit Dhillon, a psychotherapist from IAPT Talking Therapies Redbridge has written a guest column on the effects of Covid-19 on mental health in BAME communities.

The Covid-19 pandemic has evolved rapidly throughout the world and impacted people in many ways.

It has become evident that the infection is not only affecting physically but mentally across society. There is increasing evidence that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups have been affected significantly higher than their counterpart in the UK, particularly in deaths and mental health issues.

Inequalities in BAME existed even before the pandemic and this has now been exacerbated by several factors such as unemployment due to precarious work, inadequate financial support from government, social isolation and limitation in accessing face to face mental and physical health services.

Due to Covid-19, rapid changes in referral system of mental and physical health support may mean that people from BAME may seek alternative non-evidence based support and care.

This may result in worsening of mental health and existing physical health conditions such as depression, anxiety, diabetes and hypertension.

To some extent there has been an increase on suicidal ideation in BAME and this could be attributed to existing inequalities and hardship due to the pandemic.

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There has been some general treatment guidance issued by various organisations since the start of Covid-19, these are mainly for general population.

BAME population needs more specific psychological aid.

Talking Therapies Redbridge has been trying to accommodate new avenues since the inception of the pandemic. To help general and BAME population below are a few actions that they took:

•Online podcast - these were related to a few important topics such as doing mindfulness, coping with worry and keeping active during the pandemic

•Online Webinars - these are group programmes on mental health conditions and are running cyclically

•Webinars for BAME - these are a few recorded videos in Punjabi and Urdu on important mental health conditions and ways to help to reduce stress

The above can be accessed through their website on and self-referral can be done online.

The above service complements existing services and is available on 0300 555 1554 with several options according to living borough.

Most existing services has been adapted to phone and video consultation with the aim to get face-to-face in the near future.

Mental Health Crisis support of 24/7 is also available on 0300 555 1000.

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