From The Guardian: At Cambridge University, black and ethnic minority students can now specifically request to see therapists of color.
“At Cambridge, we’re now guaranteed to be matched up with minority ethnic counsellors if we request it. We have enough BME counsellors to sustain the initiative – and through groups like the Black, African and Asian Therapy Network, we’ve found there are more minority ethnic practitioners in Cambridge than you would assume in such a white space. It’s a simple change at little expense, but it signals a fundamental shift towards client empowerment.
However, we’re just one service within one university; all mental health service providers should be considering practical changes that might support people of colour, who are an at-risk group. While services commonly acknowledge the impact of gender on mental health (perhaps as counselling is a profession dominated by women), we often find ourselves afraid to talk about race – as if it’s a step too far in the direction of the ‘political’ in an environment intended to be placid and neutral. But acknowledging race doesn’t have to be agitating.
A one-size-fits-all approach is not the most nuanced way of tackling the student mental health crisis. The same groups will continue to slip through the cracks if our services do not respond to the social and political climates that they are inextricably intertwined with. Within services, people of colour deserve structures created for us, when the wider world is in so many ways structured against us.”