‘Every child and young person has a right to learn in a safe environment that is free from bullying and that is affirming towards their culture and way of life’
Our ambition is to support BAME students access equal opportunities and work with our partners to support success in higher education. In order to achieve this, we’re clear that our work needs to be founded on rich insights from the lived experiences of students. We will continue to support students and providers with guidance and resources.
Don't think that Higher Education is for you?
Here you can hear the real thoughts and experiences of Black, Asian and Minority ethnic students at University.
Do you still think University is not for you?
Here is some more from students with their advice, and how through University societies and groups they were able to make real change in the institutions they attend.
Influences on BAME students' mental health
There are a number of factors which can affect the mental health of people from BAME communities. For example:
- racism and discrimination
- social and economic inequalities
- mental health stigma.
These factors can impact your mental health, and your experience of trying to access mental health support.
Below we cover some possible influences in more detail.
One example of the way in which racism can have an impact on mental health is through micro-aggressions.
The term is used to describe a subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a minority group. The comment or action is often unintentional or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype. For example, you might experience a micro-aggression such as someone saying "you don’t sound Black".
Other examples of micro-aggressions include:
- being asked "where are you really from?"
- being called the wrong name
- being mistaken for someone else of the same race
- people assuming that English isn’t your first language.
The commonplace, subtle nature of micro-aggressions can have a significant negative impact on the health of people of colour who experience them.
"Most of all, what helps is realising there is far more to life than grades, university, the people you meet at university, more than broken friendships or broken families, more than Brexit or racism or misogyny, or those people you can't bear to live with (who will be temporary)."
Black Lives Matter and mental health
While being a movement for change, it's important to address how the Black Lives Matter movement can impact Black and Mixed Heritage people. Hearing about racism, and viewing racist behaviour, may affect your mental health in different ways.
For example, for some people the movement might have:
- reinforced awareness about the lack of equality in our society
- been a catalyst that has surfaced painful memories about encountering racism.
If you're feeling affected by the movement, please remember that it is important to speak to someone. See our page about getting mental health support for students.
You may also want to look into whether there are specific networks, clubs or societies for BAME students at your place of study. It might help to meet and talk to others about similar experiences.
Racial inequality in mental health support
If you are experiencing a mental health problem, you should get support and be treated with respect. For many people from BAME communities, this is unfortunately not always the case. For example, one issue is BAME people experiencing poorer outcomes from mental health treatment.
Find out about our policy work on race, ethnicity and mental health.
The Mental Health Foundation has more information about influences on the mental health of people from BAME communities.
Useful resources for BAME students
The resources below are suitable both for BAME students, and more generally for BAME mental health support.
National Union of Students Black students' network
The National Union of Students (NUS) Black students' network represents students of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean heritage. The network supports issues affecting Black students on a local, national and international level.
Find out more information about the NUS Black students' network.
Spirituality and mental health
- Mental Health Foundation – report about spirituality and mental health.The report looks at how spiritual belief and activity can have a positive effect on a person’s mental health. Read the report here – The impact of spirituality on mental health.
- The Muslim Youth helpline.This provides faith and culturally sensitive support and information to young people. Visit the Muslim Youth helpline website.
- The Qur'an and Emotional Health.Suffolk Mind has worked with mental health professionals and practising Muslims to develop this emotional and mental health resource. Find out more information, and order a copy of The Qur'an and Emotional Health.
Talking about mental health in Asian communities
Mind blogger Megan Simpson is a registered nurse and mental health advocate.
"Having a mother born in Taiwan – a culture much different from mine – often made opening up difficult."
Taraki is a non-profit working with Punjab communities to create spaces where everyone can access:
- mental health awareness
- education on mental health
- support to help care for themselves and others.
Takari also run university projects where you can take part in workshops, or get involved by working with them.
Visit the Takari website to find out more.
Below you will find a range of resources for students, parents/carers and teachers relating to Black, Asian and Minority ethnic (BAME) students. Some of these resources signpost to external organisations who aim to raise awareness and understand the impact of racial bias
within education, and ultimately encourage all participants to become active agents of change.
Parents/Carers & Teachers
A Parent’s Guide to Black Lives Matter
Resources, activities, and tips for families to empower children to work towards racial equality and inspire
healthy, open and honest discussion.
Schools and Colleges
Kids of Colour
Founded in 2018, Kids of Colour creates spaces for young people of colour to come together and explore
race, identity and culture and support them to challenge the racism they face. Young people of colour can
get involved by filming a video, speaking at an event, developing the project or taking part in the next
The Salam Project is a group of youth workers who work with African and Caribbean young people, helping
them to stand up to gang crime, extremism and radicalisation. They offer workshops on a variety of topics
including Black History of the UK, Celebrating Black Women Trailblazers in History, and Racism and
Anthony Walker Foundation
The Anthony Walker Foundation offers a variety of presentations and activities for key stages 2, 3 and 4,
raising awareness of issues including bullying, discrimination, racism and all forms of hate crime.
The Black Curriculum
The Black Curriculum offers a range of services to deliver Black British history. Services to schools include
school programmes delivered by subject experts, teacher training, assemblies, curriculum consultation and
audit, and a national ambassador scheme.
Creating the next generation of STEM talent. There is a need to search wider and find talent from genuinely disadvantaged and black communities.
A job like no other – my two homes video
Nathan ‘s Story into the Royal Navy video
Made in the Royal Navy – Nathans life on board HMS Queen Elizabeth video
This organisation runs a programme of workshops for students and graduates with the focus on diversity.
Civil Service Fast Stream: Summer Diversity Internship Programme
“The multi-award winning Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) gives people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to see what a career in the Civil Service is like. It puts talented undergraduates and graduates on a work placement in a government department. As a successful applicant, you’ll get an insight into the broad range of opportunities available across the Civil Service.”
Civil Service Fast Stream: Early Diversity Internship Programme
“This award winning internship is available to first-year undergraduates from diverse backgrounds. The 5-day placement in a government department gives you valuable insight and understanding of what it's like to be on the Fast Stream.”
“Rare Recruitment matches outstanding people from diverse backgrounds with jobs in top organisations. They specialise in helping ethnic minority candidates and place a particular emphasis on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
This site provides a database of employers committed to fair and diverse recruitment as well as career tips.
“Inclusive Graduates, the not-for-profit arm of executive search firm Inclusive Boards, connects undergraduates and young professionals from underrepresented groups across the UK with outstanding employers. We identify these groups as: ethnic minorities, women, young people from low socio-economic groups and students from non-Russell Group universities.”
The Royal Society: Diversity in Science
“A project from the Royal Society interviewing scientists from a variety of educational and minority ethnic backgrounds. Scientists share how their backgrounds impacted their scientific careers.”
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) London
“SEO London focuses on helping students from under represented and under-served communities to secure places on internship and graduate programmes in the UK.”
“UpRising is a UK-wide youth leadership development organisation. Their mission is to open pathways for talented young people from diverse and under-represented backgrounds by equipping them with the knowledge, networks, skills, and confidence to fulfil their leadership potential.”
"We exist to accelerate equality and equity, for culturally and ethnically diverse people in the creative industries and beyond. We do this through non-traditional ideas, creativity and activism."
The Other Box
"Through our training, consultancy and brand partnerships, we are the bridge to facilitating an honest conversation to better understand the importance and value of diversity and inclusion in the workplace."
Insight, networking and employability support for black men.
Sector-specific organisations offering support
Creative Access - Arts
“We are a social enterprise, unrivalled in diverse recruitment and inclusion. We work with all under-represented candidates and organisations across the whole creative industries. Creative Access is largely funded by our employer partners who are committed to improving diversity and inclusion within their organisations, wholeheartedly. All profits go back into growing, training and supporting our community members.”
Society of Asian Lawyers - Law
Representing and supporting Asian Lawyers in the UK.
“The Windsor Fellowship (WF) is a unique charitable organisation. We design and deliver innovative personal development and leadership programmes, which enables talent from diverse communities to be realised. We achieve this by partnering with leading organisations from the private and public sectors as well as developing relationships with schools, universities and community groups throughout the UK. To date we have trained and supported over 15,000 young people to successfully navigate key milestones along their educational journey.”
Black Solicitors Network - Law
“The Black Solicitors Network is the primary voice of black solicitors in England and Wales; committed to achieving equality of access, retention and promotion of black solicitors.”
Journalism Diversity Fund - Media
Bursary-awarding body that funds training from the National Council for the Training of Journalists for people from diverse backgrounds, and pairs individuals with mentors.
Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
“We work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 13 to 30 to inspire and enable them to succeed in the career of their choice. We also influence others to create a fairer society in which everyone, regardless of their background, can flourish.”
The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers
“AFBE-UK provides support and promotes higher achievements in Education and Engineering particularly among students and professionals from ethnic minority backgrounds.”
The Taylor Bennett Foundation - Media
“The Taylor Bennett foundation is a charity that exists to encourage BAME graduates to pursue a career in communications.”
Aspiring Solicitors - Law
“Aspiring Solicitors was set up in autumn 2013 by Chris White whilst he was an associate at Norton Rose Fulbright. The primary aim of Aspiring Solicitors is to increase diversity in the legal profession.”
Not Turning Back 2020's Jobs Zone - Marketing
"Our aim is for 20% of all marketing and communications professionals to come from a black, Asian, minority ethnic background. And for this 20% to stay in our industry until they reach the very top jobs."
Sky's diversity insight weeks and inclusion week - Media
"We celebrate diversity because different people, with different perspectives make Sky a better business. Our customers are incredibly diverse, so we should be, too."
Interlaw Diversity Forum - Law
Mentoring programme dedicated to supporting the career development of lawyers from all strands of diversity (LGBT+, BAME, Disability, Gender) and Social Mobility.
No Trace Film Initiative - Film
Support and develop BAME careers in the advertising production industry.
Eagles Graduate Programmes - Investment, social responsibility, banking
Six-month, paid graduate development programme