Our report Jigsaw 2 explores how community-led groups - led by and for people from marginalised groups - are supporting people’s wellbeing. It follows our first report, which looked at the experience of peer support groups across England. We focused on peer support within communities of Black people and people of colour, LGBTQIA+ communities and young people.
Community-led groups showed us how they provide their members with safer spaces and a sense of belonging. This is very different to mainstream mental health services, which can often be triggering places and cause fear. But they also told us that they were under-valued and felt exploited by funders and larger services.
This isn't good enough. Community-led groups need to be respected and accepted for their role in making sure everyone gets the mental health support they need. Their message is loud and clear. Trust that communities know their reality better than you. And that they’re best positioned to develop the solutions.
“Often the majority of the service users are Black but staff are completely white. Seeing the dynamic of who gets trusted with money and who creates interventions for certain communities and who doesn’t. Seeing these mainstream, white-led organisations getting the funding. We should be trusted with that funding too, we should be trusted to create spaces of change in our communities too.”
As Mind, we're part of the mental health system. And we’ve created some of the barriers that these community-led groups face. That's why we needed independent voices leading this research.
We recruited researchers who have shared experiences with many of the community-led groups to lead on the report. They worked together with members of the groups taking part in the project.
“Our power comes from our experience…it starts with knowledge, then people help themselves.”