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Brief Published: 9 Jul 2020

Mental Health Concerns for Non-White Youth Rise in Lockdown


Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) youth have experienced a greater increase in anxiety (11%) and depression (9%) during the Covid-19 crisis than their white counterparts (Kooth, 2020). These findings reveal the need for mental wellbeing services which address consumers’ unique intersection of mental health, the experience of lockdown and race.

New data from UK mental wellbeing platform Kooth reveals that logins to its app from young (aged 11-25) BAME consumers have risen by 44% compared to the same period in 2019. This increase is reflected in the prevalence of mental health conditions reported by this group. While young white users of the Kooth app have shown a 16% decrease in depression during Covid-19, BAME users have reported a 9% increase. This discrepancy is also seen in the prevalence of suicidal thoughts; white users have reported an 18% growth in this issue while their BAME counterparts show a 27% increase.

Moreover, the study was conducted before the death of George Floyd – and subsequent global Black Lives Matters demonstrations – which has emphasised the need for robust mental health services that cater specifically to Black audiences. Kooth plans to conduct further studies to identify how recent BLM protests have impacted young Black people’s mental health.

Start-ups like Black Minds Matter UK are responding to the urgent need to support the Black community’s collective mental health. Launched on June 1, the platform connects Black individuals and families with free mental wellness resources and therapy sessions. Through fundraising, it has already raised enough money to provide almost 700 12-week therapy courses to Black Brits, free of charge. Black Minds Matter UK is cultivating a collective of certified Black therapists who are more likely to understand their patient’s cultural context. 

See Disproportionate Health Impacts in Covid-19 + Inequality to understand how white privilege has impacted consumers’ health during the coronavirus crisis. We explore the need for mental health services that are tailored to individuals’ need in our recent post on The Brief.