Wednesday, 16 August 2023
In August we were delighted to host our first Black Minds Matter Summer School in the new Trinity building at Springfield Hospital. A group of 40 young people spent time learning about our services and the work we do, before putting our staff to the test in a speed networking session!
Black Minds Matter is an initiative of the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network, and was established to support and celebrate the lives and ambitions of young people from black communities across South West London. The charity supports young people to access mental health and wellbeing services, and works with local schools, youth clubs and faith and community groups to develop culturally appropriate mental health support.
Through workshops and programmes like its annual summer school, the charity also provides mentoring and training opportunities to help inspire and guide young people to achieve their career goals.
Three days of the summer school took place in the Trinity building’s new conference centre where a speed networking session was arranged for the group to find out more about the wide range of roles and opportunities there are within the NHS and mental health care – and we were thrilled to see some mental health professionals in the room!
Stephen Reid, a Mental Health Wellbeing Practitioner who took part, said: “It was a pleasure to talk with and hear from such an enthusiastic and talented group of young people. I was genuinely impressed by how curious they were about not only my role, but the different possibilities there are within the NHS and psychology. They asked lots of great questions about career direction, what it’s like being qualified, how to gain experience, and how I’ve progressed in my role here.
“They also asked about my experience of being a black man working in psychology. I explained that while there can be challenges, there are more black individuals entering the field and it’s an incredibly rewarding profession to be in.”
Isaiah Smith-Steadman, one of the young participants, said: "For me personally, it was an absolute pleasure being part of the Black Minds Matter Summer School programme. We got to meet and converse with many professionals from all different kind of services at the mental health Trust. I found it highly engaging being able to question professionals – including learning what goes on behind the scenes in CAMHS. As someone who has struggled with my own mental health, I found this session particularly insightful.
“Hearing stories from professionals like Dr Yvette Arthur gave me hope for the future of mental health services for BAME young people. One thing she discussed that has stayed with me was about having different approaches towards tackling poor mental health, such as taking more holistic approaches towards some things, as well having less clinical approaches in order to understand and work with different kinds of patients. Most of all, she inspired me, and I know she inspired many others in the room as she’s a black woman that’s gone so far in a white dominated profession and continues to progress, grow and challenge the status quo."