The Mind Us Wellbeing Fund is a free mental wellbeing support service for doctors and medical students of black African and Caribbean heritage, including individuals of mixed-race heritage. The fund will provide access to culturally competent psychological support delivered by ethnic minority psychology professionals.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been shown to have had a disproportionately negative impact on the Black African and Caribbean community. Not only have there been alarmingly high mortality rates within the general public but also amongst healthcare professionals.
The pandemic has also highlighted the stark health inequalities and barriers to healthcare that those within the black African and Caribbean community face and has exacerbated existing health inequalities in the UK. These inequalities coupled with the early lack of resources for frontline staff and adverse experiences of the workplace lead to high levels of apprehension and fear amongst ethnic minority staff. It has also had a damaging effect on the wellbeing and career support of many medical students and doctors from ethnic minority groups. Concerned by the lack of appropriate and targeted strategies to support this at-risk group, Melanin Medics established The Mind Us Wellbeing Fund.
Through the fund, Melanin Medics will provide access to online supportive one-to-one wellbeing sessions for medical students and doctors from a black African or Caribbean background, including those of mixed-race heritage who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. This will be a safe space to discuss any workplace related or personal stressors that have arisen due to recent events, and the therapists will suggest practical steps to help manage this as well as direct to further support if need be.
The Wellbeing Fund forms a component of a wider array of initiatives supported by BMA Giving focused on supporting the mental wellbeing of black African and Caribbean medical students and doctors, called the Mind Us Project. The Mind Us Project aims to provide accessibility to wellbeing services for Black African and Caribbean medical students and doctors in order to help combat some of the negative ramifications of COVID-19 has had on their mental health whilst simultaneously facilitating career support.
Olamide Dada, Founder and Chief Executive of Melanin Medics said:
“At this time, it is necessary for us to provide both doctors and medical students who have made an invaluable contribution during the pandemic with the support they deserve. Over the past year, we have continued to navigate extremely challenging times and believe that the Wellbeing Fund will play a part of supporting both mental health and wellbeing as we continue to move forward.”
“We are committed to initiating the changes that we wish to see through the establishment of a psychological support service which provides culturally appropriate and targeted support our current and future workforce and mitigate the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on mental wellbeing.”
Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of Council, BMA said:
“In the last year we have seen the tragic impact that Covid-19 has had on ethnic minority communities, exposing longstanding health inequalities. Doctors and medical students from Black African and Caribbean backgrounds, already facing the pressures of responding to the pandemic, have faced further anxiety and distress knowing they are at increased risk from the virus. In addition, they have suffered further distress in witnessing friends, loved ones and other people from the same background dying and becoming ill in disproportionately high numbers.
“The aftershocks of the pandemic will continue to be felt for a long time, not least by those who have so selflessly been working in the health service, providing care to people during the most testing circumstances. But doctors can only look after patients if they too are looked-after and so the BMA is pleased to be supporting this important work from Melanin Medics. We hope this will provide an invaluable lifeline to doctors and medical students from Black African and Caribbean backgrounds.”
Individuals will be able to access the Wellbeing Fund from the 5th of April 2021.
For information about The Wellbeing Fund, or to find out more about The Mind Us Project, please visit our website at www.melaninmedics.com/wellbeing-fund.
Melanin Medics is a registered charity and home to the UK's largest intergenerational network for current and future African and Caribbean doctors. Melanin Medics has been focused to implement positive solutions to overcome racial and socio-economic barriers in Medicine by promoting diversity in Medicine, widening aspirations & aiding career progression. They run a number of programmes, events, engagements, outreach, networking opportunities, workshops and mentorship in order to achieve their mission. The organisation currently serves over 600 members of African and Caribbean descent within our networks of medical students and doctors in the UK. Melanin Medics stands as a leading voice in the national conversation on promoting diversity in medicine and widening participation and continue to advocate for racial equality in medicine.