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Conversation to Action Event - ‘Culturally Informed, Anti-Racist Mental Health Care’

Published: | Health Improvement, Equality

Working in partnership with Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS)’s Mental Health Service, and other local partners, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) Health Improvement staff held a Conversation to Action event in February - ‘Culturally Informed, Anti-Racist Mental Health Care’.

The event followed from our HSCP’s 2022 report ‘Mental health and wellbeing of black and minority ethnic children and young people in Glasgow’, which we produced as part of the Scottish Government’s Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Supports and Services Framework. A short animated version is also available.

Over 100 people from statutory and third sector mental health and wellbeing services and organisations that support children and young people of colour and their families in Glasgow attended the event at The Studio on Hope St.

Attendees came together to hear each other’s experiences, discuss and reflect on their practice and to hear the personal and professional experiences of *panel members from a range of backgrounds.

After some welcoming activities supported by Hannah McIlveen from Scottish Ballet, panel chair Nina Abeysuriya, manager of IYS Mental Health Service, led a discussion on a range of issues. Topics covered included: representation, terminology, power, training, trust, the usefulness or otherwise of the term ‘unconscious bias’, the impact of racism on mental health and looking after ourselves as practitioners. 

After readings from Dr Samara Linton and Hazel Peters the day closed with some reflections on where to go from here.

Barbara Adzajlic, Health Improvement Lead with Glasgow City HSCP, said: “I’m delighted with how the day went after many months of planning. Today was a unique experience where I believe service providers really listened to and learned from the experiences of people of colour. I’d like to thank the panel members, IYS Mental Health Service and the local organisations that helped inform today’s event. I would invite all mental health service providers to engage in the difficult but really important issues we have been exploring today.” 

Nina Abeysuriya, IYS Mental Health Service Manager, said: “It has been wonderful to work alongside Barbara Adzajlic and Glasgow City HSCP on this important piece of work. This was a unique and pioneering moment that brought together multiple sectors into one space. The speakers and attendees alike approached the topic with a great deal of compassion, empathy and humility. The event opened new horizons for many attendees, with fresh perspectives and approaches to culturally informed anti-racist mental health care.”

Satinder Panesar, panel member, said, “What a fantastic event – it was really powerful to be in a room of individuals that are all interested to learn.”

Participants said: “It was an amazing day and clearly visible how much effort and hard work was invested to create this day for everyone.”

“I just wanted to take a moment to write and congratulate you on such a profound successful event. The amount of planning and passion that went into it was very evident.”

*The panel consisted of Dr Samara Linton, award-winning author and multi-disciplinary content producer; Satinder Panesar, psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and coach; Hazel Peters, journalist, spoken word poet and one of Scotland’s 30 Under 30; Bachala Mbunzama, comedian and social media star known as Bash the Entertainer and the subject of a recent BBC Scotland Documentary, ‘Behind the Smile’; Amina Khan, Non-Executive Director for NHSGGC,  BAME Equality and Diversity Champion for patients and staff, with experience working as a bilingual interpreter; and chair Nina Abeysuriya, Mental Health Practitioner and Anti-Racist Activist.

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