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Blacks are minorities in the UK, yet they have the highest propensity to use mental health facilities. That is why #DivasofColourFest2020 will focus on mental health again. Divas of Colour is creating the perfect platform to bring this discussion to the fore – more like ‘operation let’s talk about mental health within Afro-Caribbean communities’.
According to figures published by the Office of National Statistics, Black Caribbean people had the highest rate of detention under the Mental Health Act out of all ethnic groups, at 254 detentions per 100,000 people. This was 3.7 times as high as the rate for White British people, which is at just 69 per 100,000 people.
This was also the case for England for the 2014/2015 data released by ONS, which states that Black Caribbean adults were the most likely to use mental health and learning disability services out of all ethnic groups. Nearly 4,800 adults per 100,000 of the Black Caribbean population did so compared with just over 3,600 per 100,000 of the White British people.
Women, in particular, are facing huge mental health challenges and this is costing the larger families, communities and businesses, especially affecting the lives of young people as women are most likely to spend time with young people.
Statistically, mental health problems affect both men and women, as shown in the studies published by Mental Health Foundation.
In England, women are more likely than men to have a common mental health problem such as anxiety, depression and stress and are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. However, in 2013, a total of 6,233 suicides were recorded in the UK for people aged 15 and older. Of these, 78% were males and 22% were females. It was also revealed that 10% of mothers and 6% of fathers in the UK have mental health problems at any given time. One in five (19.1%) women had CMD symptoms, compared with one in eight men (12.2%). Approximately 68% of women and 57% of men with mental health problems are parents.
Furthermore, the most common mental health problems experienced during pregnancy and after birth are anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The following figures show the number of women experiencing maternal mental health problems:
- Postpartum psychosis: 2/1,000
- Serious mental ill-health: 2/1,000
- Severe depressive illness: 30/1,000
- Mild-moderate depressive illness and anxiety states: 100–150/1,000
- PTSD: 30/1,000
- Adjustment disorders and distress: 150–300/1,000
Unfortunately, women are expected to compete both in business, career professions and most do these still going through pregnancy, childbirth and nurturing the family. As more and more women step into the global stage, there’s more need to pay attention to their overall health and more specifically their mental health. Women are naturally more predisposed to poor mental health due to their biological dispositions, childbirth, religious, traditional and societal pressures all add to the strains and stress women continuously face.
‘Now the most relevant event and only festival for women of colour, Divas of Colour Festival 2020 which will be held on 28th March in London, provides a fantastic opportunity to bring together and celebrate inspirational women of colour as well as raise awareness, bringing education on this important issue of mental health.
‘The unique platform of Divas of Colour Festival provides the opportunity to learn, share and celebrate the contributions and achievements which has proven to be an effective empowerment safe haven for Black and Brown women who do not have enough space to express their uniqueness and share their stories without being judged. Through a series of approaches and activities such as fashion shows, panel discussions, music, shopping and awards ceremony, we make sure to drive the message home with our audience year in year out.’
Faustina Anyanwu, media entrepreneur and founder of the event said: ‘For me, mental health sums up an individual’s health as what happens in the mind has not just a direct effect on the general health but also, has a crucial effect on an individual’s overall performance and productivity. Therefore for a better society and outcome, women’s well-being must become a priority for organisations, families, businesses, nations and individuals alike. Employees, in particular, must pay attention, train and equip their staff with information on the peculiar needs of women which may affect their mental health.
‘Our aim is to educate as many people as possible on how to prevent a mental health breakdown, how to care for and protect their minds, looking at some of the triggering factors such as finance, immigration, employment, and domestic violence.
‘With our tailored event such using lectures which are series of education and awareness topics which will educate especially women on how to protect themselves, prevent occurrences and what to do should they fall victims. The first step begins with helping women understand their worth, their rights and practical empowerment of building self-esteem and financial power having in mind the dangerous effects of some traditional and cultural practices on mental health.
‘As Divas of Colour International Women’s forum continues to grow, our major focus will continue to be on the welfare of the women we serve: who are in the media, tech, healthcare, business, law, politics, entertainment and all manners of career and status. As we celebrate their contributions and achievements, open debates on issues that affect them continue to be paramount and of course creating an enabling platform for growth both for women in business and career professionals. We will never deviate from the core purpose of the organisation.’
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