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:
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind's Diversity Matters groups, Culturally Diverse Communities project and African and African-Caribbean counselling
- IRIE Mind at City, Hackney and Waltham Forest Mind
- Mind in Camden's Cultural Advocacy Project
- Mind in Harrow's culturally specific services
- Thurrock and Brentwood Mind's Multi-Ethnic Counselling Service
Some local Minds are also delivering our Young Black Men programme:
- Coventry and Warwickshire Mind
- Lambeth and Southwark Mind
- Leeds Mind
- Mind in Haringey
- Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest
Other organisations providing mental health support
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
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)
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)
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.
0800 151 2605
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.
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)
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
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
Anti-racist organisation fighting to end structural racism.
Works to address and challenge the structural barriers that prevent Black people from thriving.
Race on the Agenda (ROTA)
Works with communities impacted by systemic racism, to create policies and practice that tackle inequality.
Challenges race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate and policy engagement.
Show Racism the Red Card
Anti-racism education charity delivering educational workshops to young people and adults.
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
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
Offers support for Black mothers through delivering community-based events, training workshops, peer-to-peer support, national campaigns and culturally sensitive programmes.
"I believe that the root cause of my anxiety and stress was racism."
"I kept my worries inside and felt like I had to be "the man" by dealing with it by myself."
"The mental health professionals would double-check everything I said with my white male partner."