Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
The current demographics of the mental health support workforce are quite distinct from the NHS as a whole. Compared with all NHS staff, the workforce have a greater number of both Black/Black British staff and male staff.
Little is known about some other protected characteristics such as pregnancy, maternity and gender reassignment status or other demographic factors such as socioeconomic status.
Promoting a more diverse workforce can help ensure a sufficient and sustainable supply of clinical support staff.
A diverse workforce also means it is likely to be representative of communities that are particularly disadvantaged within the present system.
Why is Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) important for the mental health support workforce?
Having a diverse and inclusive workforce not only helps tackle health inequalities but also helps in creating a culture where everyone is valued and respected.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the disadvantages and health inequalities faced by those from different backgrounds and the NHS has committed to being an inclusive employer, with the People Plan 2020/21 setting out a vision to be an employer that reflects the diversity of the communities it serves.
Greater diversity brings benefits such as efficient services, quality of care, meeting statutory and contractual requirements as well as workforce supply. Use these benefits to give authority to business cases or when championing for the mental health support workforce – they potentially hold the diversity that with the right progression can be built into other staff groups. The Nuffield Trust have produced an excellent diagram that summarises these to help you.
NHS England have curated a range of resources to support managers, teams and leaders to have conversations about race and other protected characteristics which you can access on the NHS England website. Use the No more tick boxes resource which consists of a wealth of research evidence to suggest what practical steps NHS employers could (and should) do to seriously improve staff recruitment and career progression.
Using this toolkit to support Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
This toolkit touches on diversity throughout, use the list here to navigate to them.
- The NHS has set out how current workforce pressures will be tackled, and staff will be supported, in the NHS Long Term plan, refer to the Key publications section of this toolkit.
- Find out what actions can be taken to support transformation across the whole NHS and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging in the Key publications section of this toolkit.
- Understand how WRES/WDES can make a difference for BME and disabled staff and address the challenge of workforce race equality in the Workforce planning section of this toolkit.
- Improve your workforce planning for your older workforce.
- Promote diversity by identifying who is underrepresented in your workforce.
- Utilise real life case studies to showcase the role of healthcare assistants in the Recruitment section of this toolkit.
- Refer to the inspire, attract, and recruit toolkit to support workforce supply and recruitment challenges in your organisation.
- Understand how people who are Black or from a Minority Ethnic background face particular challenges which may contribute to poor mental health. Refer to the Mental Health and Race at Work resource in the Safe, secure working environment section of this toolkit.
- Here are some resources in supporting and protecting the mental health support workforce from violence at work.
- Minority groups face additional barriers to accessing CPD. Refer to the Manager’s checklist for reducing barriers to accessing CPD to find out how you can support the mental health workforce in reducing these barriers.
- Offer, or set up your own, coaching and mentoring programme/reverse mentoring, find out more in the Learning and Development section of this toolkit.