Welcome to the first ethnic carer forum of the month. My carer forum has expanded to cover south London with support from Oxleas NHS trust and South London & Maudsley NHS trust. A quick comment about the forum is that it bring together families and unpaid carers looking someone suffering mental illness. We seek engagement, information and a way to be involved or learn the challenges of mental health care.
For January 2022 speakers we had the following speakers.
- Lisa Fannon, Barabra grey – Public Health Training and Development Manager
- Natalie creary – Black Thrive Lambeth – Research regarding young people
- Jackie Peat - Lewisham Diversity and Equality Lead
- Sheena Wedderman – Culturally Diverse Communities Project Manager
- Lisa Fannon presents on BLACHIR
Just to note BLACHIR stands for Birmingham and Lewisham African & Caribbean Health Inequalities Review
Lisa updated us on how Lewisham and Birmingham City Council are working across both Lewisham and Birmingham to focus on African and Caribbean health inequalities. Both of areas had worked previously looking at health inequalities across the board. One of the projects was on the childhood obesity program, this was during pandemic at the time, and around November, given the impact of the pandemic.
What was interesting was the impact of the lockdown and how things started to be immersed for the vast community. The group came together to look at focusing on how they could collect knowledge to support looking at how health inequalities had been an issue. Even though health inequalities have existed for decades, the project looked at trying to bring them to the forefront, which would lead to a report that could be shared nationally.
As part of that process, Lisa explained it was important to bring that information from a lived experience process within the community. This would also include the wealth of knowledge from academics across the country. The knowledge would be on the experience specifically on health inequalities.
Lisa explained that they are now working in different phases for their research, to promote and focus on information regarding health inequalities for black communities. This required a rigorous process in 2020. Where Lisa actually came to the SL&M board to talk about how they were recruiting people to take part in this process. So basically, they recruited a range of academics, from black communities who were working specifically on health inequalities.
Lisa mentioned they also put a call out to community members in Birmingham, asking them to come forward on a voluntary basis, in order to provide their experience on a range of things that they felt were were important to focus on.
What is BLACHIR?
Barbara Grey presents on KINARAA
Next it was Barbara Grey who presented some information about KINARAA and its aim is to grow the black third sector, and diversify the marketplace and ultimately improve access and well being of black, African and Caribbean people. It’s very specific, because that’s where the need is, and its focus. This is with the ethos is around collaboration.
This is where it brings together black led organizations to do what only they can do. During the first lockdown the determination showed what can happen when people come together. Another person at the forum involved in KINARAA explained that it’s just like magic to watch in terms of seeing how everybody comes together. They know what the issues are, they bring their expertise, they know exactly what the solutions are. In the end it’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. People just got this amazing work that goes on, which can lead to a strategic voice.
Barbara Grey mentioned that she has worked with many people out there in the community. She felt that it’s really good to see because there are other types of initiatives including the “Patient Carer Race Equality Framework”. There needs to be a focus on black leadership on health inequalities and how communities can work together.
As a result of that they have done there are now four organizations who have done amazing engagement where they’ve done focus groups, one to one interviews, and there are also surveys that just gone live. At the time of the forum there are over 70 people have responded to the survey that went live. The responses are covering the borough quite well in terms of where you’d expect to see African and Caribbean people. So it just goes to show that if you want to reach people, plus if you’re working with people who’ve got the relationships where you’ve got the expertise, and you just bring it all together in the right way. It will just happen. And the results that you will get back is pretty outstanding.
Stakeholder feedback on partnership
A stakeholder involved in the KINARAA project responded that its all about a partnership and collaboration with organization. For them, it was actually driving hard at the work, time was a challenge because it was short, but it did not put them off because they were excited to be involved on this kind of work.
This was something special to them because for them they are a small organization, they are looking at the pathway to raise their voice, because in the end it is them who are the first point of accessing people to access the services.
So the process that has been undertaken, as part of that review is that as the review team, those colleagues involved in Birmingham and themselves will pull together evidence, work with researchers and commissioned researchers to come together and give reports on specific areas of health inequalities. They will share that information with academic board members who are around 15 academic board members that are also taking part in a review. They will then look at the evidence as they come to a meeting, or provide their information on how they feel that these health inequalities are impacting.
Natalie Creary presents on Black Thrive Lambeth
Natalie explained that as an organization called “Black thrive”, their work sort of started in the London Borough of Lambeth. Following a commission from the black health and wellbeing commission, and that was undertaken with other communities and other stakeholders. They came up with 40 recommendations to narrow the inequalities gap for black people. This led to Black Thrive being born. It was established to kind of be an independent entity that holds the system to account to be able to move forward on the health agenda of black communities.
Natalie continue that they looked at addressing mental health and equality, thinking about the social determinants of health. Natalie mentioned that they have been an independent entity for about many months now. So they are actually officially black led organization. They are currently working with many partners to explore how we can influence the social emotional wellbeing offer for black children and young people.
It was mentioned that they actually got a project currently where children in need, will co-design the criteria for a fund, which will then fund primarily black led interventions to address the mental health and well being needs for for black people
Sheena Wedderman on her new role in Bromley Lewisham & Greenwich Mind
Sheen’s explained her job role as the culturally diverse communities project manager. The role came around from a piece of research in relation to the young people of color, and diverse communities going in and out of hospitals. What was found was people from diverse communities that are entering mental health settings usually experience crisis levels that rise quite quickly. Such people are sectioned in secure wards, being medicated and often staying far too long on those inpatient wards. Then they end up coming back into the community with a really negative experience of mental health services. This in turn leads to experiencing even more mental health challenges, where they would re-enter the system at crisis level, go back into hospital, be medicated and stay too long, then coming out and not trusting the system and not getting the service that they actually deserved needed.
Sheena then talked about her focus on information that were born out of that piece of research. The what the info aims to do is to look at what the barriers ethnic people are experience, why are people waiting until they get to crisis levels to access services, but more importantly, how we can prevent them from getting on the carousel of going in and out of hospital; being medicated and coming back out in order to going back in.
She felt people need to be supported by the communities that they live in, in order to improve their mental health. So the new project basically decided how they were going to get some funding and look at how they could support people in their local community.
Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind are looking at putting out to tender for more community care support workers, who are going to be based in and around community groups. They will provide a service that identifies who in the community needs that support. This is so if at any point there is an issue with their mental health, then these organizations or these local organizations will support the people accessing those mental health services
Jackie Peat presents on her role as Lewisham Diversity and Equality Lead for SLaM
Jackie who is now SL&M’s (Lewisham) diversity and equality lead, was brought into this role 2021. This was to come up with recommendations regarding staff concerns over equality where support came from the CQC, NHS England, the board of directors for slam.
The problems were a lack of opportunities for any black staff to move forward to go up the ladder, or actually sit on the boards. Jackie felt it was a shame that she had to go through some challenges, even though she just wanted to be heard. Eventually a subgroup was formed in January 2021, which led to a subgroup being formed, which she co-chaired at the time. The sub-group led to recommendations where many items need to be met.
Basically ethnic staff just wanted a safe space to speak. Presently there has been a lot of promotion are the trust are doing to look after our black staff etc etc. Jackie still feels there are many challenges to work through, but there are many positives.