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Black History Month

Every year, Black History Month is a chance to recognise, celebrate and consider the experiences of African and Caribbean communities and their diaspora.

It’s a time to reflect and explore how race, racism and mental health intersect among Black people in the UK.

On this page:

Why Black History Month is important

Black History Month is important because it recognises and celebrates the contributions and experiences of Black people in the UK. It’s an opportunity to:

  • Raise awareness about the history of Black communities
  • Combat racism
  • Promote inclusivity
  • Inspire positive social change

It serves as a reminder that Black history is an integral part of the UK’s history and culture.

Awareness from Black History Month can lead to discussions and actions that drive change and social reform. It can also force us to address systemic racism and inequality in various aspects of society, including education, employment, and access to mental health support.

Saluting our Sisters: Celebrating our Black mental health heroes

In spirit of this year’s Black History Month theme, ‘Saluting Our Sisters’, we wanted to celebrate some of Black women who’ve made remarkable contributions to mental health.

Dorcas Gwata

Dorcas is a mental health advocate, author, and global health specialist. She co-founded the Global Health Café, which encourages reflection through dialogue and addresses health issues relevant to Africa. Dorcas is passionate about addressing mental health disparities in Black and other racialised communities. She’s worked tirelessly to create safe spaces for discussing mental health issues, working with young people and families affected by gang culture in London.

Carol Webley-Brown

Carol has over 40 years’ experience as a nurse and has worked in A&E, primary care and mental health nursing. She’s now a Labour member of Lewisham Council and a Royal College of Nursing councillor. Carol is the author of ‘Memoirs of an NHS Black Mental Health Nurse’. Through her story, Carol seeks to break down racism and raise the profile of Black nurses.

May Tanner

May arrived in Bristol in 1956 as a teenager from her home in Barbados. She was part of the Windrush Generation – people from Britain’s former colonies who came to help the country recover after the Second World War. She began working at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and became Bristol’s first Black ward sister. Despite her qualifications and good reputation amongst patients, May faced discrimination because of the colour of her skin. Still, she continued her work to support mental health patients until she retired. She has been awarded multiple nursing medals for her service.

Dr Leyla Hussein

Leyla is a Somali-British psychotherapist specialising in supporting survivors of sexual abuse. She creates safe spaces for open conversations about mental health, with a focus on gender rights and reproductive health. She’s the founder of the Dahlia Project, a specialist service for women who’ve undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). She co-founded Safe Spaces for Black Women with her colleague Fatima Hagi, to provide emotional support for Black women across the globe.

Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE

Jacqui has fought for drastic improvement in mental health services throughout her career, with a focus on tackling racial inequality in the mental health sector. She’s an independent health and social care consultant and the current President of the Mental Health Foundation. Jacqui is also the Mental Health Equalities Advisor for NHS England and Health Education England. She co-founded and chairs Lambeth’s Black Thrive, a partnership to improve Black mental health and wellbeing.

Finding support for racism and mental health

If you experience racism as a Black person, it can leave you feeling unsafe, unwelcome, and like you don’t have a fair chance of succeeding. If you're finding things tough, we want you to know you're not alone.

This month you’ll be hearing a lot about Black people’s experiences – both past and present, both positive and negative. Sometimes this might feel inspiring. And sometimes this might feel tough. If you’re struggling this Black History Month and beyond, read our options below to see where you can get support that’s right for you.

Mind's online information

Our information provides an understanding of the impact of racism – and how and where you can seek help. If you're finding it hard to get the support you need, our tips can help you find a way forward.

Read our information

The Mind Infoline

If you need support, contact our Infoline by phone, email or post. We can give you information on mental health support and signpost you towards help in your area. Our Infoline is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.

You can talk to us about:

  • Mental health problems and wellbeing
  • How you can look after your mental health
  • Support services near you
  • Treatment options, like medication and counselling
  • Advocacy services

Contact our Infoline by:

  • Phone: 0300 123 3393
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Post: Mind Infoline, PO Box 75225, London, E15 9FS

Side by Side

Side by Side is our supportive online community. It's a place we can talk openly about our mental health and connect with others who understand what we're going through.

It’s a safe place to listen, share and be heard. The community is available 24/7, and everyone is welcome.

Go to Side by Side

Local Minds

Local Minds offer mental health information and support to communities across England and Wales. They’re a safe place where we can talk to people who understand mental health problems and the challenges we face.

Your local Mind might offer:

  • Low-cost counselling
  • Peer support groups
  • Advocacy - that’s where you get support from another person to help you express your views and stand up for your rights

These local Minds offer tailored services:

Some local Minds are also delivering our Young Black Men programme:

Find your local Mind

Other organisations providing mental health support

Aashna

aashna.uk
Provides a list of therapists working to recognise the ways in which culture, faith, religion, colour, social background, sexuality, gender and neurodiversity affect people's experiences.

African Rainbow Family

africanrainbowfamily.org
Provides support for LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum and refugees of Black, African and Caribbean heritage in the UK.

BAATN (The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network)

baatn.org.uk
Provides a list of therapists from Black, African and Asian backgrounds, and signposts to local mental health and advocacy services.

BLAM (Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health)

blamuk.org
Offers mental health support to people from Black British communities, including racial wellness workshops. Works to embed Black British cultural heritage and African and Caribbean histories into teaching.

Boloh helpline

0800 151 2605
helpline.barnardos.org.uk
A helpline and web chat for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children, young people, parents or carers affected by the pandemic. Offers emotional support and practical advice.

Diverse Cymru

diversecymru.org.uk
Welsh charity committed to supporting people facing inequality and discrimination. Offers mental health services to people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds through its mental health projects.

Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team Wales (EYST)

eyst.org.uk
Provides services in Wales for young people aged 11–25 from ethnic minority backgrounds and their families, including support for health and wellbeing.

Rethink Mental Illness

0300 5000 927
rethink.org
Provides support and information for anyone affected by mental health problems, including local support groups.

Campaigning organisations

These organisations campaign against racism and some offer ways to get involved and have your say. You could also campaign with Mind for a fairer system.

Black Lives Matter UK

ukblm.org
Anti-racist organisation fighting to end structural racism.

Black Thrive

blackthrive.org
Works to address and challenge the structural barriers that prevent Black people from thriving.

Race on the Agenda (ROTA)

rota.org.uk
Works with communities impacted by systemic racism, to create policies and practice that tackle inequality.

Runnymede Trust

runnymedetrust.org
Challenges race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate and policy engagement.

Show Racism the Red Card

theredcard.org
Anti-racism education charity delivering educational workshops to young people and adults.

Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation

stephenlawrenceday.org/stephen-lawrence-day-foundation
Works to create a more equal and inclusive society, and to create education and career opportunities for young people.

Stop Hate UK

stophateuk.org
Offers independent reporting and support for victims and witnesses of hate crimes. Visit their website to see if your area is covered and find links to other reporting options.

The Motherhood Group

themotherhoodgroup.org
Offers support for Black mothers through delivering community-based events, training workshops, peer-to-peer support, national campaigns and culturally sensitive programmes.

How to join in with Black History Month on social media

We’ll be talking about Black History on social media throughout October. Follow us to join in, celebrate, and to learn more about mental health in Black communities.

Instagram

TikTok

Facebook

Threads

Twitter

"I believe that the root cause of my anxiety and stress was racism."

Read Ruth's blog

"I kept my worries inside and felt like I had to be "the man" by dealing with it by myself."

Read Patrick's blog

"The mental health professionals would double-check everything I said with my white male partner."

Read Angela's blog

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