A group of young people discussing their poem ideas in the workshop.

For community volunteers, youth workers and teachers Responding to Black young people reaching out for mental health support

We collaborated with Poetic Unity to facilitate a workshop with Black young people that explored how adults can respond well to them talking about their mental health. Find out more and watch the poems that were made as a result.

Understanding feelings and behaviours, Coping with life, Practical tools for support
Schools, Community support, Youth workers

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This is a commissioned resource featuring advice from Black young people on how to respond when a Black young person opens up about their mental health.

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How can adults respond to Black young people talking about their mental health?

Every young person deserves to have someone to turn to, to talk about their mental health. From providing a space to listen, to supporting them with accessing further help. We know that every adult that a young person reaches out to needs to feel confident and equipped to help them.

At YoungMinds, we want to create a world where no young person feels alone with their mental health. We recognise that we have to be better at reaching and representing racialised young people, and the adults around them, who have been marginalised by the system.

Our Someone To Turn To report interviewed 350 young people and found that when Black and minoritised young people struggle with their mental health, they are more likely to face systemic barriers and often experience racism, stigma and discrimination when trying to access help and support.

To increase awareness and understanding of this, we commissioned Poetic Unity, a poetry collective that works with young people to empower them to reach their highest potential.

A mother and son holding hands on a bench looking at each other

Our collaboration with Poetic Unity

A group of young people discussing their poem ideas in the workshop.

When it comes to mental health, we need to be better at reaching Black and minoritised young people. To help us on this journey, we asked Poetic Unity to facilitate a workshop exploring the following question:

‘How can adults respond well to Black young people looking to speak about their mental health?’

The workshop brought together Black young people to develop activities and questions for two poets, to understand and consider the experiences of turning to an adult for support.

This led to the creation of two poems by poets Jayda and Aaron, which they presented and filmed.

I got involved in the workshop because I believe that as someone who works with young people, adults should regularly be striving to work in best practice and one of the most important ways to achieve this is by finding out from young people themselves what they expect from trusted adults around them.
Jayda, Poet

The poems

The poems that were created can be watched below. Both poems are in the poets own words based on the experiences of other young people. Once you've watched the poems, you could try one of our reflection exercises below to further your thinking.

Trigger warning: Please be aware that these videos tackle issues surrounding racism, aggression and abandonment.

Play Video: Is the lens clear? | Poetic Unity x YoungMinds | Poem by Jayda Is the lens clear? | Poetic Unity x YoungMinds | Poem by Jayda
Play Video: Hear my voice | Poetic Unity x YoungMinds | Poem by Aaron Hear my voice | Poetic Unity x YoungMinds | Poem by Aaron
Through these poems hopefully adults will be more aware to the fact that these views, thoughts and statistics are real. Adults will get a view of how Black youth feel when speaking to an adult who may not look like them.
Usir, young person

Exercises to help you reflect on these poems

After watching these videos, you may find it helpful to do one or all of the following exercises, either on your own or with others that you work or volunteer alongside.

Consider the following questions in response to the poems:

  • What feelings come up for you after watching these poems?
  • Is there a particular line/part that you connect with?
  • What stands out to you in each poem?
  • Have you considered how the life experiences of people from the Black community might impact their mental health?

Read more about supporting young Black people with their mental health. Our blogs written by young people can help support your thinking on this topic.

Consider the following questions:

  • Do any young people you know come to mind when watching these videos?
  • What are some steps that you could take to support a young person who turns to you for help and support?

Take a look at some of our resources that can help support you to talk to young people about their mental health.

More on supporting Black young people

a parent is writing on a workbook with other parents in the campus


We've teamed up with The Ubele Initiative, Mind and Best Beginnings to help create a space for Black young people to find support, care and joy.

The word bayo comes from Yoruba and means “joy has found us”. We chose this as the name for this platform as we want it to be somewhere not just for Black young people to get support, but to draw strength.

As part of the campaign, we've created a list of organisations that work specifically with Black young people, including places where Black young people can get mental health support in their local community.

Find out more about Bayo

Whether you love the page or think something is missing, we appreciate your feedback. It all helps us to support more young people with their mental health.

Please be aware that this form isn’t a mental health support service. If you or a young person you work with is in crisis right now and wants to talk to someone urgently, find out who to contact on our urgent help page.

All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required to submit this form.
Please copy and paste the page link here.
Please do not include personal details. This is not a mental health support service and you will not receive a reply.

Please note:

This form is not a mental health support service. We cannot reply to this. If you or a young person you know is at immediate risk of harm, call 999 and ask for an ambulance or go to your nearest A&E. If you are worried about the mental health of a young person you work with, you can signpost them to our website or suggest they contact one of these helplines: Childline (for under 19s) on 0800 11 11; or Samaritans on 116 123.

At YoungMinds we take your privacy seriously. If you’d like to read more about how we keep the information we collect safe, take a look at our privacy policy.

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