Dr Chetna Kang featured on BBC’s ‘Minding It’ series

Dr Chetna Kang, consultant psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital features in BBC‘s ‘Minding It’ series, in partnership with BBC staff network Embrace, to explore how race can play a part in how people experience mental health. The series also looks to help allies navigate the subject.

Dhruti Shah, BBC Journalist and Author sat down with Dr Chetna Kang, who shared insight into the impact culture and attitudes can have on our mental health.

When looking at BAME minorities, Dr Kang highlights that one of the major mental health issues individuals may face will include the impact of racism and discrimination. 

“We often lump racism into this one experience of, ‘somebody’s treated me badly or unfairly because of my face or the colour of my skin’, but it goes beyond these individual overt instances of racism.”

However, Dr Kang explains there are various forms of racism that can have an impact on mental health. 

“We also recognise the institutional and structural racism has an impact on mental health, as well as internalised racism. So we may not have experienced it ourselves, but we’ve seen people around us, we’ve heard news stories, or have become aware of it and then we internalise that prejudice.”

Dr Kang highlights that “chronic, pervasive discrimination of any group, leads to almost a sense of self-loathing”, in turn creating a “collective sense of self-loathing and even intra-racial discrimination”.

She highlights that racism relates to higher instances of mental health disorders, such as depression.

Dr Kang also explores the idea that cultural perspectives on mental health and well-being can be an obstacle or challenge for BAME individuals.

“Cultural perceptions of mental health and someone’s societal position carry perhaps stigma in a different way than it presents itself in white communities”, she said. 

“That has an effect in terms of whether somebody is first of all open about their mental health challenges.”

Dr Kang also pointed to the challenges that arise from social and economic inequalities. She listed higher instances of unemployment, lower educational outcomes, lower pay scales and more contact with the criminal justice system.   

You can watch the full interview on the BBC’s Creative Diversity LinkedIn account.

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