“A Call for Social Justice”: BME Mental Health Service User Led Manifesto

RITB are delighted to be able to share a recent keynote delivered by Raza Griffiths (above), lead author of the Kindred Minds Manifesto. Here’s what Raza said about the keynote:

I used the powerpoint as part of my opening keynote at a conference entitled “Psychological impacts of racial discrimination for both clients and practitioners”. The event was organised by practitioners from the British Psychological Society – which, as a professional body, has had a patchy history when it comes to addressing racism.

For this event, I looked primarily at the impact of racism on BME service users, drawing on my work in authoring “A Call for Social Justice” (2018). This is a manifesto written with contributions from 200 BME mental health service users, and spells out the changes they have said are needed to bring about a reduction in BME communities’ poor experiences within ‘mental health’.

The manifesto underlines the need for action against structural and institutionalised racism. It gives an overview of the current political climate and then identifies the changes in policy and practice across a range of interlinked life areas, including in education, policing and mental health, that BME service users have said will bring about an improvement in their mental wellbeing.

In mental health, this includes a move away from an exclusive focus on bio medical understandings of mental distress and towards support underpinned by a plurality of understandings of distress that BME communities can relate to; a move away from involuntary detention and treatment which are disproportionately used against BME communities; and foregrounding some of the good practice identified by the extensive writings of BME service user led initiatives over the years which are all too often ignored by campaigning groups and policy makers.  

The conference took place on Friday 11th October 2019 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in Holborn, London

Links to the executive summary and full version of the manifesto can be found at the bottom of this webpage:  https://www.nsun.org.uk/news/bme-mental-health-service-users-launch-manifesto

Kindred Minds, BME Service User Led Manifesto

“Racism is a political issue. Inequality is a political issue. Mental health is a political issue. We should hold politicians to account.”

“It’s not just about looking at improving services that fix us; it’s also about looking at what broke us in the first place.”

“There is a Bermuda Triangle in society for Black people. At one corner of the triangle is education, at another, the police and in the third corner are mental health services. Far too many Black people simply disappear into this triangle, many of them only to be seen decades later – some, tragically, never again.”

Executive summary in case you are time poor and still want to have an overview at a glance! > Kindred Minds Executive Summary

Author, Raza Griffiths, writes –  The Kindred Minds Manifesto! I believe it’s pretty unique in being BME service user led and having such a “bigger picture” view of the changes needed to improve the lives of BME mental health service users.

I’ve been working on this for 2.5 years with input from hundreds of BME service users at 18 consultation events, mainly in Southwark borough, London, and an extensive review of the literature. The manifesto has national relevance, I believe.



Slides provide an overview of the process of how the Kindred Minds BME mental health service user led manifesto was written, over the course of 2.5 years, using apposite words and pictures for people who hate long text heavy documents! Click thumbnails above to open them or Download HERE> Kindred Minds powerpoint

The priority now is to ensure we galvanise BME service users and allies to take the recommendations forward. For this we need a stimulus like a launch event. We have already secured a free venue this summer and MPs, campaigners, SLaM Trustees and other VIPs have expressed an interest in attending. The Voice newspaper expressed interest in covering a launch, particularly if we organise a public debate around the Manifesto and the BBC has expressed an interest in me talking about the launch as part of a series on mental health.

For the launch event, we urgently need £6,000 to pay for design and publication of the Manifesto (we intend to disseminate this at the launch and later to other key players not able to make the launch) and also for refreshments and entertainment. Know of anyone who could fund this? I’m approaching various funders.

The newsworthiness and relevance of the Manifesto is greater now than ever. This is due to the race inequality audit Theresa May ordered that was published earlier this year, and the Mental Health Act Review currently under way. These developments put race based mental health inequality and the use of force and restraint that is disproportionately used against BME communities firmly under the spotlight – whatever the Govt’s motivations.

Screenshot 2018-03-02 13.00.36

There are also new BME mental health initiatives challenging BME mental health inequalities, including Synergi, an academic led national programme, and Black Thrive based in Lambeth, both of which seek to challenge BME mental health inequalities. I believe we should use the Manifesto, which is BME service user led, to influence all these other initiatives and the Review, to help ensure the BME service user voice is heard.

In PDF format download HEREKindred Minds Manifesto A Call for Social Justice

If you can help raise the necessary funds or other ideas to help the manifesto gain prominence please contribute here gofundme.com/racial-justice-in-mental-health


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