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Black and Minority Ethnic students: Mental wellbeing and study support

Updated Monday, 21st March 2022

Check out these FREE resources collated by the Black student and Mental Health declarations working group set up as part of The Open University’s Access and Participation Plan.

We did it! The role of study support in student success


‘We did it! The role of study support in student success’ was created by Suki Haider, Alice Uwizera, Allan Kavuma, John Butcher, Rehana Awan and Darren Gray. Suki is an OU Associate Lecturer, and Alice and Allan are two Black students studying at the OU. John Butcher is Professor of Inclusive Teaching in Higher Education at the OU and Rehana Awan and Darren Gray were part of a small working group, set up under the OU’s Access and Participation Plan, to explore the reasons why Black students are less likely than White students to declare a mental health condition.

Illustration of OU student by a sign of services available

If you’re already registered on an OU module you can contact your Student Support Team (SST). The number is on your StudentHome page. 

Illustration of a student looking overwhelmed at a calendar counting down to an assignment deadline

If you’re a student at the OU you can find more resources to support your mental health, wellbeing and welfare on the HelpCentre.

Group of OU graduates and a guide dog

Feeling part of the OU community can support your studies and help you feel less isolated and more connected. Check out the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Group (

Further resources

Below is a selection of free resources of different types provided by The Open University.

Check out this list of further resources collated by the Health and Wellbeing pillar of the OU’s BME network.

External resources

Black Minds Matter UK  

Currently under development, Black Minds Matter is a service that will aim to connect Black individuals with free professional mental health services across the UK. 

Black, African and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN)  

Independent organisation specialising in working psychologically, informed by an understanding of intersectionality, with people who identify as Black, African, South Asian, and Caribbean, and other People of Colour who are affected by prejudice due to the colour of their skin and global white power. Includes a directory of therapists. 

Brown Girl Magazine 

Mental and physical health related articles, such as yoga and distancing, as well as more serious topics like abuse and trauma. 


Mind provides advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem, including face-to-face and online peer support. For peer support for specific BAME groups, contact your local Mind or search Mind’s peer support directory. 

People in Harmony

Resources for those with a ‘Mixed Race’ identity (but seems inclusive to those with parents from different ethnic backgrounds, too). More of a blog and news site so it will alert people to things such as TV shows and films that readers might find of interest. 

Podcast from Therapy for Black Girls 

Described as a weekly chat about personal, mental health and personal development topics. 

Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) mental health ( 

Includes general advice and a list of general and regional support.  

Therapy for Black Girls  

Instagram account founded by Dr Joy Harden Bradford which provides resources and news for Black women. 

Therapy for Black men  

Interesting articles, particularly for Black men, as well as on the challenges of experiencing and seeking help for mental health issues. 

Young Black men programme  

A three-year programme launched in 2019 working with 11-30 year olds by offering a range of tailored local services working specifically with young Black men. 

Young Minds  

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health, with blogs and specific information about racism and mental health.  





Score Scotland 

Score Scotland serves communities in the West of Edinburgh, providing communities with advice and information, advocacy and representation for people experiencing racial discrimination, abuse or harassment. 


Saheliya is a specialist mental health and wellbeing support organisation for Black, Minority Ethnic, asylum seeker, refugee and migrant women and girls (12+) in the Edinburgh and Glasgow area. 

Shakti Women's Aid 

Shakti Women’s Aid is an organisation that offers support, advocacy and information to Black and Minority Ethnic women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. 


Advocacy Matters (Greater Glasgow) 

Advocacy Matters provides independent mental health advocacy for anyone with mental health problems aged 16 and over, who lives, is in the Hospital, or in full time education in the Greater Glasgow area. The Association provides services to people from Minority Ethnic communities and to refugees and asylum seekers. 

African Community Integration Centre (ACIC) 

The organisation works to support the African community in Glasgow to achieve their full potential, and to contribute to Scottish society socially, economically and culturally. 



BAWSO is an all-Wales, Welsh Government-Accredited Support Provider, delivering specialist services to people from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds who are affected by domestic abuse and other forms of abuse. For all general enquiries, Email:, or contact the 24-hour helpline: 08007318147. 

MEWN (Minority Ethnic Women’s Network) Cymru  

Minority Ethnic Women’s Network Wales (MEWN Cymru) is an umbrella body representing ethnic minority (visible and non-visible) women across Wales, regardless of their age, religious observance, ethnicity or life choices.  

ISSA Wales  

ISS Wales supports the social, emotional and spiritual well-being of BME and Muslim communities in Wales by using a culturally-sensitive, person-centred approach that empowers our service users and challenges barriers and stigma that remain within society. Tel: 029 2034 5294. Text: 07891 588 996. Email:  


African and Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland (ACSONI)  

This Organisation provides support and representation to people from the African and Caribbean diaspora communities in Northern Ireland.

Tel: 028 9043 4090   



Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation 

Provides a range of culturally responsive support to adults of Black African, Caribbean, of Black dual heritage, or from the wider community in or around West Birmingham who are recovering from mental ill health or are at risk of developing mental ill health.     

North East  

Sharing Voices Bradford 

Sharing Voices Bradford (SVB) aims to reduce mental health and related inequalities through community development in partnership with Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and other stakeholders through promoting inclusion in all spheres of civil life.  


Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health (BLAM) 

A community outreach organisation working to share pragmatic solutions to social issues in London through events, projects and public forums. 

Black Thrive 

Black Thrive is a partnership between communities, statutory organisations, the voluntary, and private sector working to reduce the inequality and injustices experienced by Black people in mental health services in the London Borough of Lambeth. 

Kindred Minds   

 A user-led project for people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities living in and around the London Borough of Southwark. Activities are open access with no referral process or cost. Membership is free. Anyone with experience of mental ill health from BME communities are welcome.  


Nafsiyat offers short-term intercultural therapy to people from diverse backgrounds who live in the London Boroughs of Islington, Enfield, Camden and Haringey. They provide therapy in over 20 languages.    

Peckham Befrienders Group 

Peckham Befrienders are a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) befriending service for people with mental health issues. The service is available to people who are currently receiving care from a professional within South London and Maudsley NHS services.   

South East  

South East and Central Essex Mind 

 A local branch of national mental health organisation Mind, with BAME support resources and ally information.   

South West 

Rethink Mental Illness Bristol BME Service  

The service supports the mental health needs of people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds to recover a better quality of life. It does this through one-to-one support in accessing community facilities.   

LGBT+ community    


Provides support, education and welfare for the Muslim LGBT+ community.  

London Friend 

Provides counselling and support service for LGBT+ communities. Runs a range of support groups and social activities, for example for lesbians/bisexual women, for Black, Asian and BME women, a non-scene men’s group. 

Helpline: 020 7837 3337 

Afterword on the animation

by John Butcher, Professor of Inclusive Teaching in Higher Education

I would just like to acknowledge this resource had its origins in a piece of institutional scholarship initiated in the Access Programme. The Access team are committed to providing learning for all and have a strong record of supporting students from all backgrounds to succeed in Higher Education. Access modules build learner confidence in study skills, as well as developing academic skills to prepare for undergraduate study. 

We noted that Black students are less likely to succeed on Access than white students (sadly, this is true of the OU and the rest of the university sector). We were also aware the Black students were less likely to declare a mental health difficulty – and thus were proportionately missing out on the support triggered by a declaration. 

Reviewing the academic literature, we discovered little research had investigated the intersections of these two critical aspects of disadvantage. So, two of our Black tutors interviewed a sample of Black students studying the People, work and society Access module (Y032). As a result, we elicited a rich seam of (often unheard) Black student voices. Following analysis, and to preserve anonymity, we merged the findings into a series of personas which have been well received at numerous conference and workshop presentations. 

As a final application of the research findings, we have worked with Black students and a Black tutor to produce this animation as an accessible source of advice for all students (but particularly those from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds). We hope it makes a small contribution to removing institutional barriers and taboos about mental health declarations.


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