Matthew Mckenzie, author, poet and carer activist, has launched his fourth book to raise awareness of ethnic mental health carers. The book “Race, Caring and Mental Health”, reflects on the unique but challenging journey that black and minority mental health carers face.
“The book examines the impact of racism and discrimination. These actions obviously lead to trauma for those who experience racism. The book looks into how trauma can affect whole communities, this is due to powerful inbuilt structures which still allow for discriminatory practices to take place.
“Since trauma from discrimination affects minorities, this can impact onto mental wellbeing, which then causes a spiral into mental illness that spreads throughout the community. Unfortunately, ethnic unpaid carers have to pick up those pieces. We all want to care for those close to us, but at the same time we want to avoid caring under pressure.
“The book also looks at the pressures placed upon ethnic carers. These pressures include reduced resources in health and social care. How are health inequalities within the mental health system affecting the family? We also have to take note of the deadly roundabout where institutional racism and unconscious bias leads to the tragedy of minorities having a reduction in a quality of life.
“I wanted to explore what could be done to tackle the powerful structures of discrimination within health and social care. Working with the community is one of the tools to reduce discrimination. Minority groups cannot do this alone and we must work together as a community.”