To tackle the growing mental health crisis in our communities, we incubated BAMEStream - an alliance of mental health practitioners, therapists, policy specialists, organisations, activists and academics, dedicated to bringing the mental health needs of Black and Minoritised communities into the mainstream.
We carried out a survey to map mental health and wellbeing services for Black and racially minoritised people in the UK, working with the BAMEStream bereavement support service. Our key findings were:
With the loss and grief caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increased demand for Black-led bereavement support, but there is no national offer for bereavement services for Black and racially minoritised communities.
Smaller organisations that want to do work around bereavement are unable to access funding (previous research has found that 9out of 10 Black and racially minoritised charities are in danger of folding).
There is an increased demand for mental health services targeted to Black and racially minoritised communities, and a lack of culturally appropriate mental health provision.
Mainstream providers acknowledge that there is a lack of cultural competencies and perspectives in their work.
Commissioners are aware of equality issues but do not factor them into their decisions when commissioning services.
Black and racially minoritised-led organisations and mainstream mental health service providers both need cultural competence training and awareness.
Black and racially minoritised service providers are in need of capacity building and infrastructure support, including to help them move online.
This event series started when two young Black men who were struggling with suicidal thoughts reached out for help. They were signposted to crisis support and afterwards had the idea of providing light-hearted entertainment for anyone experiencing loneliness and isolation.
As a result, music, poetry, spoken word pieces magic and comedy have been performed by artists from around the world at online #UGiveHope events, with artists giving their time in the spirit of love and unity. It was meant to be a one-month initiative, but continued weekly for 18 months. The events were hosted by Brian Quavar, Mental Health Crisis Support Volunteer, Community activist, visual storyteller, photographer and an active partner of the JouvayFest Creative Collective. In the midst of personal grief, loss and anxiety, those in attendance spoke openly about the impact it had on them, and it created many, many moments of raucous laughter and built newfound friendships. Visit our Facebook page and YouTube channel to view the series.