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The BPS calls for a proactive approach to managing Covid-19 challenges in relation to minority groups 

09 July 2020

The British Psychological Society has released a resource paper to help professionals working with people from minority groups who are particularly at risk from Covid-19.

Produced by the BPS Division of Clinical Psychologists Minorities Subcommittee, the aim of the paper is to better equip employers, colleagues, peers, and the general public to understand some of the unique challenges of Covid-19 faced by people in minority groups

Runa Dawood, trainee psychologist and co-chair of the subcommittee said:

“It’s really important at the current time to think about people’s different identities. Coronavirus has made social inequality more visible and put more pressure on people from minority backgrounds”.

Many people with protected characteristics such as underlying health conditions, carers, and people from ethnic minorities have been identified as being at greater risk of complications and death associated with the Coronavirus.

It is vital that these people require well-considered treatment by employers to safeguard their employees from further risk in employment.

Social psychology has shown how grouping people together in relation to a pandemic or similar crisis situation can easily lead to increased fear, stigma, and prejudice from wider society, especially regarding ethnicity.

Our resource paper promotes a detailed approach for employers and peers that moves away from these types of generalisations and examines deeper, understandings of the compound risk factors of the high-risk groups involved.

When considering a return to work our paper highlights that:

‘Decisions on deployment/redeployment should be made with the person who is ‘high risk’ and/or living with or caring for someone ‘high risk’. Consultation should be sought with employees on an individual basis in order to maintain confidentiality and offer holistic support while acknowledging and seeking to understand individual circumstances’.

Further to this, discussions about stigma and marginalisation should be encouraged by all, not only those in minority groups.

The BPS recommends managers actively encourage staff to put their health and mental health first.

This research is ongoing and will be followed by further investigations by the BPS into this field.


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