YoungMinds are standing with the Black community and with everyone who has been treated unfairly or differently because of their race or ethnicity.
I, like many others, have been struck by the incredible Black Lives Matter protest movement that has swept across the world. I am also very aware that this will continue to be an emotional and challenging time for the young people of colour we work with and our colleagues. For many others, myself included, it is a time to stop and think about the role we play in the systemic and structural racism that exists in this country and what we can each do now to ensure we see lasting change.
As a mental health charity, we know that the impact of racism on mental health can be profound and long-lasting, which is why we must do much more than simply stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
My own reflection, as Chief Executive of YoungMinds, is that I have failed to ensure we took serious action in the past. We must now make this a priority, not just now but for here on in. As a Senior Leadership team, and with the Board, we have talked about our whiteness and our complicity in how things are. I want you to know that it is my commitment for YoungMinds to become an actively anti-racist organisation. I also want to acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do in order for us to truly embed this. While we are mindful of a need to treat this with the urgency it requires, we want to make sure we are taking time to reflect, listen and learn from staff and the young people we work with to consider the best course of action before rushing to fix things. I recognise the need to maintain the momentum and I personally promise to update you on the progress we make.
We also plan to prioritise support for young people personally affected by racism and by recent events and you will now start to see more resources on how racism can impact your mental health, as well as blogs from young people reflecting on their experiences. We will also be making issues of racial equality a more prominent part of the campaigning we do. And we will listen and learn from the young people we work with as we continue to develop these plans.
To all of you struggling at the moment, I want you to know that you are not alone. Please reach out for support, talk to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a helpline, a teacher or a family member. You may find our racism and mental health page useful, which includes links to other great organisations who can help.
Finally, I know that many of you might be feeling overwhelmed and worried that action won’t lead to change. Right now, it might be very difficult to believe that things can get better. But we know the power of collective action and we have to seize this moment together to create lasting change.
Emma Thomas, CEO of YoungMinds
Where to get help
If you are struggling with your mental health, or are worried about a young person who may be, have a look at our find help page for tips, advice and information on where you can get support.
Thanks for sharing your story Emma Thomas, CEO of YoungMinds
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