Welcome to Septembers Lewisham BME MH Carers Forum. Yes, I know it is a long title for the forum, but nevertheless the importance of unpaid BME mental health carers cannot be understated. The reason I set up the forum was to allow BME carers the platform to discuss issues, engage with those responsible for equality and diversity and also educate other carers who are not aware of their role or problems they may face.
To Watch the video version, click below.
The Lewisham BME MH Carers forum runs from the Lee centre over in Lewisham. On the agenda for September was an introduction on why the forum was set up, its requirements and a talk about race, equality and diversity from our Local mental health trust’s equality lead Macius Kurowski.
So why the need for such forum?
– We have no idea how many BME Carers/Service users in Lewisham have any idea or influence on Mental Health services.
– There is a high rate of BME Mental Health carers, due to the high rate of BME service users & those not using the services.
– Mental Health BME carers need some empowerment in their role.
– Services have suffered from cuts, carers need to act in order to support everyone.
– Lambeth is now on the map for a big push on BME mental health focus, but where is Lewisham where the population is very diverse?
Eventually Macius South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Equality lead spoke about his role at the trust, why it was needed and the importance of race and equality. At the first BME Carers forum, we discussed his report about Meeting the public sector equality duty at SLaM. So we felt it was important we should engage and hear more from the trust’s equality lead.
Macius mentioned that it is important we examine, discuss and understand the report since it will help us all in our roles. He did feel that as a forum, when it comes to finding about the data regarding the number of BME service users and carers, it can be complex. Macius stated that SLaM is doing a number of good things in picking up data e.g. (quality improvement meetings) and engaging with the public, but there is still more work to be done.
We were grateful for Macius to engage with the forum and look forward to him returning early next year. This concludes the update for September’s Lewisham BME Mental Health Carers forum.