Kimberley Wilson X Live Well London
I realised a couple of years ago that parts of social media and ‘Wellness’ were having a very negative effect on many of the young women I worked with. I wanted to use my Instagram account to make good quality mental health info and research more accessible to people and challenge some of the misinformation I found.
As a black psychologist in my 30s I realise I am FAR from the familiar face of #wellness. I have attended and spoken at a number of Wellness events in London (which has a 40% ethnically diverse population) and been struck at times that I was the only black person in the room. And I've discussed how so much of Wellness is exclusionary, especially of ethnicity or body type.
How do we reconcile the espoused purpose of Wellness - to promote health and illness prevention - when it seems to ignore the people whom it would most serve? In the UK, Black, Asian and other minority ethnic individuals have disproportionate risk of the very ‘lifestyle illnesses’ that Wellness is best placed to reduce: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome. Black people, especially black men, are up to 17 times more likely to be diagnosed with a severe mental illness than their white counterparts. Wellness and its advocates have a responsibility to be trying to engage with and represent members of these communities. Otherwise, what does it really stand for?
Whilst I continue to have my reservations about many corners of Wellness I am very happy to be partnering with Live Well London, whose team want to build the most inclusive wellbeing event around and make sure that mental health is central to the health conversation. This can only be a good thing and I'm delighted to be working with them to make it happen.