People from minority ethnic groups are more likely to experience mental health problems and less likely to receive good quality, timely support that meets their needs. This update provides an overview of the work taking place in Leeds to address mental health inequalities experienced by children and young people from minority ethnic groups.

A Health Needs Assessment carried out by Public Health at Leeds City Council in 2019 found that children and young people from minority ethnic groups are under-represented in mental health support services in Leeds. They report a lack of trust in mental health support services, as well as barriers in accessing support for mental distress.

This area has been identified as a priority in the updated Future in Mind Leeds strategy, which is a plan for Leeds that explains how people are working together to improve mental health and emotional health for young people.

Key work programmes

The findings from the Health Needs Assessment are being addressed by a work programme funded by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group.  A new two-year role has been created to lead on this programme. The Mental Health Ethnic Inequalities Lead (Children and Young People) at Forum Central lead partner, Volition will develop city-wide initiatives that reduce the risk of mental health problems, and improve equitable access to mental health services for children and  young people from minority ethnic communities.

The role is also designed to help to build system capacity to ensure local approaches address inequities; an example of this is to review all the priorities under the Future in Mind strategy and consider how the workplans need to be adapted to meet the needs of diverse communities. It’s also key that children, young people and families’ voices help shape this work.


Funding was provided for a new grants programme hosted by Leeds Community Foundation. It is designed to fund local third sector social enterprises, community groups and charities that are supporting families from minority ethnic groups with their mental health. The aim was to appeal to groups that have trusted relationships with communities but may not usually get funded to carry out mental health work.

The following organisations were awarded funding in 2021 to carry out work with children and young people: Flourished Minds, The Geraldine Connor Foundation, Impact North, Gipsil, Chapeltown Youth Development Centre and Complete Woman CIC. For more information click here.

One example of a successful bid was the Chapeltown Youth Development Centre, which was awarded £20,000 to employ a mental health worker to provide 1-1 support for young people and families across the organisation as well as referrals from other organisations. The mental health worker will also deliver group workshops to help remove the stigma of mental health conditions to create open conversations about mental health.

Support for adults

This work focussing on children and young people has been developed alongside a programme of work focussing on the inequalities for adults. We know that adults from minority ethnic groups have an increased risk of experiencing severe mental illness and are over-represented in Community Treatment Orders and admissions to mental health wards in crisis. An Inequalities Lead (Adults) has also been employed to take forward this work and oversee the successful grant applications targeting adults. This work is closely aligned to the national Synergi Collaborative Centre.

For more information contact:
Health Needs Assessment – Charlotte Hanson [email protected]
Children and young people work programme – Marvina Newton [email protected]
Adult work programme – Delvina Saunders [email protected]