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Cultural and political impacts

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Video transcript

Saf: We also know that because of recent high-profile campaigns and movements such as Black Lives Matter and national efforts to tackle racial disparities in mental health, there is a greater spotlight on the experiences of Black people, not just young Black men when interacting with statutory services.

Obi: Although these issues may seem political and not directly linked to experiences of young Black men in crisis, it is important to acknowledge the influence of the present political climate on our trust of services and expectations we have when we access services. We acknowledge that for some professionals, this can create a fear around doing the wrong thing.

Akram: A fear of doing the wrong thing is normal when caring for vulnerable young people. More so when supporting them in crisis, we prefer that if you’re not sure about how to approach a sensitive topic you ask first and allow us to take the lead. If you make a mistake, apologise and accept responsibility.


The mental health crisis in young people is multifaceted. For young Black men, issues that affect people who look like us, such as racial disparities in mental health, racism and the stigma associated with accessing mental health support within our communities, impact our mental health and readiness to trust services.

You might feel anxious about ‘doing the wrong thing’ or ‘saying the wrong thing’ when there is a spotlight on the experiences of Black people accessing care. It is normal to feel unsure about situations that may be unfamiliar to you. Do not be afraid to ask us questions if you are uncertain about anything, as this anxiety can stand in the way of delivering high-quality care.

We would like you to enhance your awareness of cultural and political issues impacting young Black men’s mental health and become allies in tackling these issues.

You can start by reading publications such as Racism and Mental Health (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2018), Up my Street (Centre for Mental Health, 2017) and the Centre for Mental Health (2020) Mental health inequalities: factsheet.

You can also complete cultural competence training (Health Education England, 2022), which we explore more in the What we need you to know guide.

However, most importantly, ask us, young Black men, how you can improve our experiences of using or accessing your service.



  • Royal College of Psychiatrists (2018) Racism and Mental Health, , (Retrieved 18th February 2022)
  • Centre for Mental Health (2017) Against all: Odds Up my Street, Available: , (Retrieved 18th February 2022)
  • Centre for Mental Health (2020) Mental health inequalities: factsheet, Available:, (Retrieved 22nd February 2022)
  • Health Education England (2022) Cultural Competence (e-learning), Available: , (Retrieved 22nd February 2022)