Project exploring racism and mental health launched by Mind, funded by Sony Music UK

Mind and Sony Music UK have joined forces for an innovative partnership, researching the best mental health interventions for young people affected by racism.

The youth-led research will be tailored to support the mental health of young people who experience racism. The impact of racism on mental health is sometimes described as racial trauma, and research in this area is still limited in the UK. The new project will seek to understand the best blueprint for interventions and support, given statistics show that people from racialised groups may be more likely to experience mental health problems but less likely to receive appropriate mental health support. 

“Sony Music UK has been working with Mind for several years, delivering training and offering support for both employees and artists,” said Charlotte Edgeworth, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Impact for Sony Music UK. “This grant signifies a deepening of this important relationship, built on our dedication to improving mental health support for people experiencing the trauma of racism.”

“We are thankful for this grant, which will allow research into how we can better support the mental health of young people who experience racism,” said Marcel Vige, Head of Equity at Mind. “Racism, in any of its forms, affects our mental health, whether direct racial abuse, embedded or institutional bias, or wider systems of oppression. It can affect the way we feel about ourselves and how safe we feel. And it can contribute to particular mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. 

“It’s so important that the UK invests in mental health support for people who experience racism, whilst also working to tackle racism at every level. Mind is committed to being an unflinching advocate for racial justice and mental health, as part of our ambition to become an anti-racist organisation.” 

The Mind project, entitled Young People and Racial Trauma, is part of the latest wave of grants for Sony Music’s UK Social Justice Fund, part of the global Sony Music Group commitment to support marginalised communities and help address structural inequality for lasting change. Sony Music UK’s funding will enable Mind to conduct research, generate and test new ideas through collaboration and curate culturally informed interventions for young people experiencing racism.

Sony Music Group’s Global Social Justice Fund was created in June 2020 to address racial injustice worldwide. The UK arm of the Social Justice Fund has awarded more than $1 million in funding across 16 beneficiaries since launch. Beneficiaries are chosen by a diverse advisory board of employees representing labels and divisions across Sony Music UK.

This latest round of funding from the UK Social Justice Fund also includes grants for The Runnymede Trust and OnSide Youth Zone.

The Runnymede Trust is the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank, which has contributed to some of the most important developments in race relations and tackling racism in the UK since it was founded in 1968.

Sony Music UK has partnered with Runnymede to deliver ground-breaking research exploring structural barriers that may prevent black, brown and ethnically diverse artists from starting or succeeding within genres where such artists are less represented and examines the phenomena of ‘mis-genreing’, where artists might be mis-classified by social identifiers. The findings will inform efforts to dismantle barriers and drive understanding within the music industry to enact long-term change for future artists and their listeners.

In addition to these cutting-edge research projects, the charity OnSide will be supported through music mentoring programmes funded in three London Youth Zones – Croydon, Barnet and Barking and Dagenham. OnSide reaches marginalised young people living in some of the capital’s most deprived and underinvested communities, providing essential and inspirational venues where young people can develop confidence-boosting skills in musicianship and beyond.

“This latest round of funding represents a development of the Social Justice Fund’s approach,” added Edgeworth, “building from our strong base of grassroots projects into addressing more embedded and structural challenges that we face as a society.”

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