Mental health professionals are increasingly emerging as the leaders to help resolve some of the resoundingly fatal interactions between law enforcement, social work, and the mental health community. The team at GradSchoolHub created How to Use Your Social Work Degree to Help Decriminalize Mental Illness to provide insight on changes being made across America to decriminalize and better address behavioral health crisis calls
Similar organisations have been rising in the UK to bring positive change. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement and increasing attention on the wellness industry that has exposed a disturbing lack of diversity and inclusion, over 150 Black and minority wellness professionals have rallied together and signed the Racial Diversity Inclusion and Access Charter – the first of its kind, calling for actionable change in the UK.
The Wellness Industry Charter for Racial Diversity, Inclusion and Access, aims to tackle three diversity challenges plaguing the UK wellness industry: health inequality, lack of access, and under-representation faced by Black and minority groups.
The charter, which has received overwhelming support by individuals in the industry, is now asking wellness brands to commit to tackling these issues by providing a roadmap for businesses centred around five pillars: education, corporate diversity, representation, access and fair pay. Access and sign the charter here.
About WellSpoken Mark
WellSpoken Mark certifies wellness brands with its kitemark to ensure they provide consumers credible, evidence-based info on fitness, nutrition and wellbeing to fight misinformation in the sector. Not only does it focus on the content that appears to consumers, but also audits the internal processes to ensure that credible brand marketing and advertising content is developed on an ongoing basis.
The founder of WellSpoken, the organisation that launched the charter and advocates more broadly for credibility across the wellness industry, Sarah Greenidge explained, “Systemic racism affects all industries and the wellness sector is no exception. For too long Black and minority wellness professionals and consumers alike have been disadvantaged by this, whether it’s in the form of a pay gap, not being able to afford wellness products or services, or not seeing themselves represented to the outside world via ad campaigns and social media”.
Greenidge continues, “Over the last few weeks we have seen many brands make a commitment to tackle the lack of diversity in the wellness industry. While we applaud this first step, for there to be real change we need an industry-wide, unified approach to raise the standard across the sector and we need to see ongoing action. We hope the charter provides a clearer idea of what action to take, for organisations that are in support of change but not sure what their next move is.”
Research shows that, on average, individuals from Black and minority backgrounds display greater levels of poor health than the general population  with evidence indicating that social and economic inequalities are the main causes of this disparity 
Cost also plays a major factor in Black and minority groups being able to access wellness products, services or events. In the UK, Black people make up 55% of the bottom two lowest income quintiles, therefore the many offerings of the wellness industry are often not affordable. Finally, a survey found that 42% of Black people thought brands weren’t doing enough to recognise their culture and 34% said they felt inaccurately portrayed by the ad industry. 29% of Black individuals said they thought their ethnicity had been negatively stereotyped in ads.
Gina Obeng who is a London-based Qualified Personal Trainer and Founder of the #Traintoslay platform and has signed the charter says, “We’ve been waiting too long for something like this – we need to demand to be treated equally and not as a token gesture, or the designated ‘person of colour’ seated at the table. Getting wellness businesses and brands to commit to change for the long-term would not only improve health outcomes for Black and minority communities but it would be a significant win on this long road to combatting structural and institutional racism within the industry”.
“Our message is clear, your credibility as a wellness brand is tied to how well you can provide accurate and inclusive information to your customer base. Understanding how racism contributes to inequalities in health and lower health literacy should completely alter the way you communicate about health and wellness and how you operate,” concludes Greenidge.
Show your commitment
Wellness brands that are committed to uplifting Black and minority communities are asked to sign the racial diversity charter here. Those that commit to the charter will have access to an initial audit to provide bespoke guidance on where their business can improve. They’ll also have access to an ongoing annual review to measure and report on achieved change and outcomes, working towards racial equality in the wellness industry.
1. Barry A-M, Yuill C (2011 ) Understanding the Sociology of Health: An Introduction. London: Sage
2. Karlsen S, Nazroo J (2011) Religion, ethnicity and health inequalities. In: Graham H (ed) Understanding Health Inequalities. Maidenhead: Open University Press
3. GOV.UK (2019) Income distribution. Access here
4. Lloyds Bank (2018) ETHNICITY IN ADVERTISING. Reflecting Modern Britain in 2018. Access here
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Sarah is the founder of WellSpoken Mark which certifies wellness brands with its kitemark to ensure they provide consumers credible, evidence-based info on fitness, nutrition and wellbeing to fight misinformation in the sector. Not only does it focus on the content that appears to consumers, but also audits the internal processes to ensure that credible brand marketing and advertising content is developed on an ongoing basis.