While an awakening of racial disparity swept the globe last year, society is still trailing behind when it comes to supporting mental health for black people.
Only 9.6% of qualified clinical psychologists in England and Wales are non-white, in contrast to 13% of the population, meaning many people of colour do not feel represented when they seek professional help which can make it harder for them to reach out.
One trailblazing team is determined to rewrite the narrative by helping black people access black therapists in a bid to reduce stigma around mental health in their communities.
Black Minds Matter are able to do this through their incredible fundraising mission which has seen them transform a little idea into a booming charity helping people around the UK.
The brains behind the mission are Agnes Mwakatuma and Annie Nash, who joined forces after noticing the mental health of the people around them deteriorate at an alarming rate.
They noticed that issues, such as the global pandemic and unjust killing of black people in America, were bringing out many different emotions from built-up anger, sadness and unprocessed trauma patterns amongst the black community.
Together, they wanted to enable as many black people in the UK to be able to access free mental health support as possible, and so Black Minds Matter was born.
We were lucky to catch-up with Minowa Norton, the organisation’s Project Support Administrator, to talk about their collective goals and ambitions.
Speaking exclusively to InspoDaily, Minowa said: “I became interested in BMM after hearing Agnes and Annie talking about it on a panel at drag queen bingo in Bristol in August 2020.
“I spoke with Agnes and asked about getting experience with them. I studied psychology at university and am doing a counselling masters, so they sounded amazing to get involved in.”
Following that chance meeting, Minowa teamed up with the co-founders to help them normalise looking after your mental health and champion speaking out about it.
Minowa continued: “Agnes and Annie had spoken about how great it would be if someone started a fund to help as many black people as possible access therapy. They quickly realised that no change would happen unless they did it themselves!
“The response was incredible and by December 2020 they had raised over £800,000. We have now offered over 2,000 people 12 sessions of therapy each over the last year.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg and the squad are now striving to become a sustainable charity so they can offer everyone on their waiting list access to therapy as soon as possible.
That’s why they’re running their biggest fundraiser yet, The 21k Challenge.
This will involve them finding 21,000 long-term donors to gift £5 per month – to cover the cost of 1,500 courses of therapy annually – and help change the face of black mental health.
Minowa said: “We hope to carry out our own research in the future into black mental health and apply pressure to the NHS to ensure there is sufficient access to black therapists within hospitals in the UK and resources available that are relevant to the black community.”
For now, the growing project works tirelessly to help people access mental health services and feel heard without being judged or discriminated against.
She concluded: “We also want to make sure there is more funding and support for aspiring black therapists as this is one of the issues with service users wanting to seek help from someone with a similar background to them.”
For more info on the fantastic movement, click here: Black Minds Matter.