How gratitude can support colleagues from marginalised backgrounds

Patrick Melville
Patrick Melville

Media Director of TAP - Thank And Praise

Research suggests there is a link between gratitude and positive mental wellbeing. Just telling someone they’ve done a good job, or have really helped you, can make you both feel better. In this blog, Patrick Melville, the Media Director of TAP – Thank And Praise, shares how a simple ‘thank you’ can benefit employees from all backgrounds.


Mental health is something that we all have, and poor mental health is something anyone can experience, whatever our background. If poor mental health is not managed, then this can lead to mental illness. A key challenge for all communities and organisations is that the risks of developing mental illness are not equally distributed, with some groups of people​The urgency of intersectionality Video Our identities are made up of many different factors. In this TED Talk, lawyer and civil rights activist Kimberlé Crenshaw explains the impact of intersectionality when it comes to the overlapping issues faced by Black women.Free By: TED View resource being more likely to develop mental health problems than others.

Underrepresented or marginalised groups can be at particular risk of this. They may lack the opportunities to cope with life problems – for example, they might be more likely to experience financial problems, or barriers to healthcare.

A doctor applies her face mask.

TAP (Thank And Praise) is a social thanking platform that is focused on building positive relationships and driving positive mental health in and between groups. It is a free and secure service for anyone to send and receive a message of appreciation at any time.

It is supporting the goal of the Equality Act 2010, which has been at the forefront of public health. Groups have always been working hard to make sure that the diverse cross-section of society of staff are treated with equality, and feel included in their organisations. The goal is to embrace our differences and engender a sense of social belonging.

The sense of lack of belonging is a driver for the negative mental impact in any workplace

According to MHFA England, there is still a strong negative impact on the mental health in underrepresented groups which can cause disruption and mental stigmas. They report that over a third (37%) of People of Colour​This is how workplaces can be better environments for Black employees Web page This article from Stylist explores what racism in British workplace can look like, and looks at how some of the commonly suggested solutions aren't having a big enough impact.Free By: Stylist View resource say they have been bullied, abused, or singled out because of their race at work, and half of Black Britons say they are as likely to have experienced racism at work as in the street.

The sense of lack of belonging is a driver for the negative mental impact in any workplace, including in underrepresented groups. Belonging is defined as ‘the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group or place.’ For people to feel like they belong, the environment needs to be a diverse and inclusive place.

Engineers discuss a project.

One quick and safe way to drive a sense of belonging is through the power of gratitude.

Hannah Wilson is a founder of Diverse Educators and a TAP Ambassador. She says that expressing and receiving gratitude can have a big influence on how we experience belonging. “Since my first day with TAP, I have felt strongly that our mission to change the world and make it a better place through the power of gratitude is something that the world desperately needs,” she says.

Gratitude drives the feelings of belonging through recognition and focuses on the ‘now’, not the past. Gratitude can not only strengthen relationships, but also shifts negative thoughts and behaviours into more positive thoughts by broadening and building social and mental resources. By sharing genuine gratitude externally with others, anyone can start to create a more connected and trusting environment. Deep and robust human connection is the key to inclusion. Therefore, feeling positively connected and a sense of belonging within a group leads to feeling included in an organisation.

A happy work environment.

TAP’s social thanking platform can be used by anyone to send a message of thanks to anyone, at any time. The platform has a ‘positivity guarantee’ as every submission is checked for positivity before it can be seen by others.

Here is a message sent through TAP that demonstrates the positive impact of gratitude in an underrepresented group:

TO: Laura Larkin, Diverse Educators
“Thank you for your simple, step-by-step guide in how to utilise texts to promote diversity. I am so impressed by how much you have achieved in your school and I look forward to trying to emulate what you have done!”

Everyone likes to feel thanked and valued

TAP has collected and witnessed thousands of similar stories, all personal and focused to support and praise each other. A strong percentage of the messages sent through TAP are from co-workers to co-workers. These messages of gratitude acknowledge the stress of work​Stress and anxiety at work: personal or cultural? PDF This report from Acas looks at the impact of work on anxiety, and can be used to help you identify areas in your own organisation that may be causing more pressure than they should be.Free By: Acas View resource, manage the experience of being in an underrepresented group, and help each other build a mental health resilience.

Rivermead Inclusive Trust uses TAP’s free services to support their workers. Paul Dadson, Strategic Lead for Teaching and Learning at Rivermead Inclusive Trust, says it has had a positive impact on his staff’s wellbeing. “As a Trust we have put in a number of well-being initiatives and believe that TAP can be a key tool that we can utilize for improving the well-being and morale of staff,” he says. “Everyone likes to feel thanked and valued, and TAP allows us the opportunity to be able to do this in a meaningful way. We are really looking forward to utilizing TAP to be able to just a say a little thank you to the amazing staff that work across all of our Trust provisions.”

Visit the TAP website for any questions, or send your message of thanks to someone today. It will put it on the website’s Thanking Walls, and the TAP team will do their best to share it directly with them.

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