I Can’t Breathe #Blacklivesmatter

I Can’t Breathe #Blacklivesmatter

I Can’t Breathe #Blacklivesmatter


For most of us coming out of quarantine with a deep feeling of uncertainty, witnessing a man being brutally arrested and killed by a police officer leaning on his neck, while he whispers ‘I can’t breathe’ was a devastating blow to most of the world.


The turbulence of the past few months has been shocking to most of us. Yet, also interesting at the same time, as the social justice movement #blacklivesmatter gathers momentum across the world.


Racism is certainly not a new construct in our political, social or cultural concepts. Historical conditioning based on superficial appearances that places one race superior over the other, has been around since the inception of slavery and colonisation.


But here are some 2020 disparities impacting mental health


  • Black and Asian Men are already 8 times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, when presenting with a mental health issue in crisis.


  • Black Men are also 4 times more likely to be sectioned and treated under the mental health act or arrested and 20 times more likely to be given a community treatment order which requires adherence to medication.


  • ONS levels of wellbeing have been reported the lowest ever since commencing this measure in 2011 with women from BAME and keyworkers demonstrating some of the lowest wellbeing scores, with 20% of the Keyworker workforce from BAME communities.


Impacting Belonging?


Looking at some of the current challenges facing BAME communities, particularly around mental health the Corona Virus Bill, significantly increases the risk of discrimination to BAME communities.


Under this new legislation, you will only need one doctor to sign off sectioning under the Mental Health Act, as opposed to two doctors, which significantly increases the risk of discrimination for BAME communities.


Culture and ethnicity can easily be misunderstood in mental health, and the diagnosis, assessment and treatment are not always culturally nuanced. Hence, belief systems and values can easily be overlooked.


This is exacerbated by socio economic factors, in which BAME communities are often overrepresented in lower paid unskilled work, and more likely to have zero hours contracts, creating financial instability.


Lockdown has further highlighted these disparities, as one third of Covid deaths effect BAME communities which is far too high, considering we are only 14% of the population.


Perhaps, the existing health inequalities, socio economic disparities, as well as the possible reluctance to get help from BAME communities, highlights systemic issues connected to the sense of belonging or not belonging.


What Does This Mean In Covid 19?


The right to dominate and practice discriminative treatment, no longer serves its purpose in a society that demands social justice, diversity and inclusivity for all races, genders and differences.


Accusatory tones across the media have left many white people apologising for white privilege. Yet, to really effect change or eradicate discrimination, we must stop splitting. Good vs bad or black vs white.


Even DNA analysis dismantles the idea of race completely and quite frankly it needs dismantling. True transformation requires less splitting and more togetherness, sharing pain and values.


Perhaps, the #blacklivesmatter movement is a container for this message?


Demonstrations and micro conversations may seem to be taking action, but building inclusive workplaces and communities takes long term commitment.


We must be committed to standing together, hand in hand, against extreme forms of racist attack and collectively acknowledge systemic racism, which is clearly not a thing of the past, but very much alive and active, still creating divisions #togetherwearestronger


The Best Social Content I have found In The Last 7 days When It Comes To #blacklivesmatter 


John Amaechi OBE #BeTheChange. Interview on Good Morning exploring positive anti-racist action.

Dr Patrick Vernon OBE FrHistS exploring the governments censored BAME Covid-Risk Review. He is also a legend on Windrush Justice & Campaigning for a £50 note to honour Mary Seacole, Jamaican born nurse who cared for wounded British soldiers.

Kay Rufai SMILE project sharing narratives of young black boys experiences, growing up in London.

Douglas Hamandishe podcast tribute to George Floyd. ‘Racism’ Whose problem is it?

Steven Bartlett carousel post on How we can REALLY defeat the issue of systemic racism