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Mental Health and Race at Work research shows negative impact of racism and Covid 19 on workplace wellbeing

Mental Health and Race at Work research shows negative impact of racism and Covid 19 on workplace wellbeing
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City Mental Health Alliance in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group launch Mental Health and Race At Work Research Report

  • 45% of Black people have experienced racism at work in the UK
  • 44 % of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers feel they need to change aspects of their behaviour to fit in
  • Nearly two thirds of all workers (60%), believe that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing

The City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group, has launched the Mental Health and Race At Work Research Report, informed by insights from an extensive YouGov survey assessing the impact of mental health at work.


Nearly half (45%) of Black employees have experienced racism at work, along with 26% East Asian, 23% South Asia and 24% of Mixed Race workers.

Over half (56%) of those employees from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic backgrounds who have suffered  racism at work said it had negatively impacted their mental health and wellbeing.

Almost half of South Asian (46%), East Asian (45%) and Black employees (43%) reported that they felt like they needed to change aspects of their behaviour to fit in at work, compared to only a quarter (27%) of White British people.

When asked how this made them feel, respondents said “isolated”, “anxious”, “frustrated” and “sad”.

In addition, around half of Black (52%), East Asian (49%), South Asian (49%) who have experienced poor mental health over the last 12 months said that not fitting in at work had [been a significant factor].


Nearly two thirds of all employees (60%), across all ethnicities, reported that the global pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

Living through the pandemic has also made it more likely that people who are Black or from a Minority Ethnic background have experienced racism or other difficult events that have hurt their mental health.

Around one in six (14%) of Black and South Asian respondents said that they had a traumatic personal or family experience because of COVID-19, compared to 6% of White British. Since the start of the pandemic, 18% of South Asian and 14% of Black people experienced a bereavement compared to 9% of White British people.


There are signs that accessing mental health and wellbeing support at work is improving.

Encouragingly 74% White British, 76% Mixed Race, 69% Black, 66% South Asian and 58% of East Asian people say they feel they can talk openly about mental health in the workplace.

However, only 60% of Black, 49% of South Asian, 35% East Asian and 30% Mixed race said they would be more comfortable accessing mental health support, if those providing support came from more diverse backgrounds and if the support was promoted in a more diverse way.

Poppy Jaman, CEO at CMHA said , “It’s clear that when it comes to mental health and race at work, businesses can affect their employees in one of two main ways. They can provide an inclusive environment, that is anti-racist, creates a sense of belonging and which offers appropriate and representative mental health support to those employees who might need it, so that all of their people can thrive. Or, they can be a source of stress and contribute to poor mental health because of discriminatory practices and a non-inclusive culture, which is clearly unacceptable.

“Businesses have a responsibility and an opportunity to build not only diverse, but also inclusive and mentally healthy workplaces. I have seen an outpouring of commitment to action from business on the mental health and the inclusion agenda over the last year, so the momentum is there. The CMHA and Lloyds Banking Group is sharing this Mental Health and Race Research Report in the hope that these insights and recommendations for good practice will inform and guide businesses on how to build psychologically safe workplaces for all their people. Let’s seize the opportunity to create change for good.”

Fiona Cannon, Director Sustainable Business for Lloyds  Banking Group said, “By partnering with the City Mental Health Alliance, we hope this research, and the personal perspectives shared, help to inform businesses on this issue and inspire action to help create an anti-racist, inclusive working environment for everyone.

At Lloyds Banking Group, the mental health and wellbeing of our people is a key priority. As a result of the research findings, we are looking at what new initiatives we need to put in place to provide more tailored support for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues. We’re continuing to develop our Race Action Plan to help respond to these challenges.

This research is an important part of our commitment to continue to listen, learn and work with experts in the field of mental health, in particular as we seek to create a fully inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive.”


The Report recommends five strategic actions to guide businesses to build workplaces that will protect, support and create positive mental health for their people, especially those who are Black or from a Minority Ethnic background.

  1. Recognise the specific challenges that employees from Black and Minority Ethnic groups are facing
  2. Be actively anti-racist and prioritise inclusion
  3. Promote and design inclusive workplace health and wellbeing systems
  4. Allocate Board level responsibility for mental health and inclusion
  5. Measure and be transparent about progress

For further information, including data that relates to cultural stigma and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on mental health, and to find out more about the five strategic actions, please read the full report here.


Watch: mental health, racism and inclusion in the workplace: lived experiences 

Watch: CMHA and Lloyds Banking Group introduce the Mental Health and Race report