World Mental Health Day takes place on 10th October with the theme ‘Mental Health for All’. In a year where all young people have had to build immense levels of resilience to combat the challenges of COVID-19, stem4 will use the day to highlight young people in communities most vulnerable to mental ill-health such as LGBTQ+ and BAME groups, in the hope of providing recognition, support, and solidarity. Dr Krause, leading clinical psychologist and stem4 CEO/Founder says ‘We cannot have mental health for all, without having mental health for those groups most prone to mental health concerns”.
Young people across the UK have faced countless challenges this year, from long enforced periods at home and the uncertainty of unpredictable exam results, to unstable working arrangements or lack of employment opportunities, university lockdowns and ever-changing, school, college and university-specific COVID-19 restrictions. These challenges have left all young people more vulnerable to mental ill-health than ever. On top of this universal challenge, young people who are members of LGBTQ+, BAME and other minority groups could be at further risk. Indeed, pre-COVID-19 statistics show mental ill-health tends to be more common in children living in lower income households (9% on lowest incomes vs 4.1% highest income*), and in non-heterosexual young people (34.9% of non-heterosexuals aged 14-19 vs 13.2% of heterosexuals*). With only a fifth of BAME people feeling ‘very able’ to speak to people about their mental health*, and LGBTQ+ young people being five times more likely to have attempted suicide as compared with non-LGBTQ+ young people*, the ability of vulnerable groups to reach for help may also hinder progress towards positive mental health.
To highlight this, stem4 will release a series of quotes from members of these communities on World Mental Health Day, bringing their inspiring stories to the forefront of the conversation and providing hopeful solidarity for young members of BAME, LGBTQ+ and other minority groups across the UK.