In the UK, black men and women are more likely to experience mental health issues, yet the system continues to fail them. In fact, statistics also show that black people are four times more likely to be detained under the mental health act as opposed to white people.
Jarell Bempong, a cultural minority psychotherapist, speaker, trainer, and activist, is the founder of Bempong Talking Therapy. Through his practice and speaking/training engagements, Bempong specialises in mental health diversity and inclusion in the multicultural workplace. He specifically aims to bring change to the cultural disparity that routinely appears in the UK’s mental health sector.
“I have personally experienced mental health discrimination and inequality in the UK as well as the stigma surrounding African mental health,” Bempong said, a black British gay man who specialises in one-on-one psychotherapy exclusively for Black people who are underserved and misunderstood.
According to Bempong, part of the problematic history of subpar mental health for British black people and other ethnic minorities stems from the European colonisation of the rest of the world, the birth of modern psychotherapy, and the overarching influence of white European and European American forefathers who developed it.
“This explains the reason why the UK mental health system is systematically and inherently racist. Current mental health training and application are not culturally conscious,” notes Bempong. “This became evident during my many psychology diplomas, as well as the lack of diversity in all of my courses and among UK mental health practitioners.”
Through his dynamic services, Bempong implements cultural consciousness to overcome the mental health disparity evident in the UK. He works to discover underlying problems and deliver solutions while also highlighting the close connections between mental health, diversity, inclusion, and equality regardless of whether he is working with a client, speaking for a presentation, or training his corporate clients. In other words, “white talking therapy can’t think in black,” notes Bempong.