COVID-19: BAME nurses may be missing out on mental health support

Black, Asian and minority ethnic nurses could be missing out on mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic warns a nursing lecturer

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Cultural differences could prevent black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) nurses from accessing counselling support during the COVID-19 crisis, a university lecturer has claimed.

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Speaking during a webinar – Who is Caring for BME Nurses and Midwives? – Middlesex University adult nursing lecturer Sheila Sobrany said that while trusts are offering support to all staff during the pandemic, she urged caution about using a one-size-fits-all approach for all staff groups.

Ms Sobrany said that the knowledge that BAME groups are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 could affect their mental well-being.

‘There are elements of intercultural psychology that prevent BAME nurses and students from getting help and using their voices to access these resources.

‘There also appears to be a shortage of BAME psychologists.’

BAME people should seek medical help for non-COVID-19 illness during the pandemic

Ms Sobrany’s comments follow a recent announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care of a review investigating why BAME people are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Also speaking at the webinar, RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair raised concerns that people from ethnic minorities could be at risk of dying from non-COVID-19 illness because they are afraid to seek medical help during the pandemic.

Professor Kinnair encouraged BAME nurses to raise this issue with people from BAME backgrounds.

‘It’s important for us to encourage our friends, families and communities that if they need treatment, they must seek it,’ she said.

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