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What to consider?
Saf: Hi, my name is Saf, and I’m a member of Jet42.
Akram: My name is Akram, member of Jet42.
Obi: And my name is Obi, member of Jet42.
Saf: Jet42 Group at 42nd Street have worked in partnership with Healthy Teen Minds is to consult young Black men across the country to build these guides for supporting young Black men experiencing mental health crises, or accessing mental health crisis support services.
Obi: This section of a guide is called What to consider in the initial meeting, interaction when young Black men access crisis support. We have used the experiences of young Black men to help us present some context that they feel is important for you to consider when thinking about mental health crisis.
Saf: By the end of these four guides, you will become more informed about the specific challenges and obstacles that young Black men face in accessing mental health crisis support. The guides will reflect on real life experiences and provide practitioners with simple and practical tools and methods that can be used to better support young Black men experiencing mental health crisis.
Obi: We will also reflect on the language that young Black men use to describe crisis and share some of the things that they expect and require in order for them to have positive engagements and interactions with practitioners and services.
Saf: It is important for us to acknowledge that some of the experiences shared with us by young Black men are rooted in trauma.
Obi: We have done our best to represent the essence of these experiences in order for us to learn from them, whilst also protecting the young men who have bravely and transparently shared with us.
Saf: We have therefore anonymised their stories, and offered them additional support in case discussing these issues has reopened trauma, or had a detrimental impact on their current state of emotional wellbeing.
Obi: As a way of introduction, we would like to share some points that we consider to be important when practitioners first interact or support young Black men.
Saf: Firstly, we want to start by saying that we know that it can be difficult for some practitioners and services to work with young Black men experiencing crisis.
Obi: Statistically young Black men are less likely than their white counterparts to access early help interventions for support with their mental health. This means that practitioners and services are less likely to have had opportunities to interact with us and find out more about what we need from practitioners and services. We also know that young Black men are sometimes referred to as hard to reach during mental health research or consultations for service improvement. Therefore, evidence-based practice usually excludes our voices.
[END OF VIDEO]
Mental health research which informs most of your practice, does not usually include the voices of young Black men and other marginalised groups. If you are a practitioner or anyone supporting young people with their mental health and have not had a chance to support a young Black man in your service, you might be interested in what you need to know or be apprehensive about getting it right for us. We hope that you’ll find these guides helpful when supporting young Black men in crisis and prompt you to research different ways of working and engaging with us.
From the Race Equality Foundation (2019) report, we know that Black and ethnic communities are less likely than their White counterparts to access early help interventions (for example, through GP) for support with their mental health and more likely to end up in crisis. Young men we spoke to confirmed that this was the case for them too.
When young Black men do access crisis services or engage with healthcare services, there is a lot ‘behind the scenes that they want anyone supporting them with their mental health to know.
When some of us access crisis services, it is usually because of deep-rooted trauma which they might have experienced or have witnessed, such as racism (Adebiyi et al., 2022), loss of a loved one, abuse (any kind of abuse) (NSPCC, 2022) or imprisonment.
Black male trauma survivors are significantly less likely to be utilising mental health services (Banks et al., 2018). When we finally engage services, it takes a lot of bravery to be transparent about our experiences (some of which might not be immediate), which might have led to us being in crisis.
You can help us open up about our experiences by applying Trauma-informed care/practice, asking, ‘What happened to you?’ instead of ‘What’s wrong with you? (Fenney, 2019)
- Banks, A, Motley, R (2018) “Black males, trauma, and mental health service Use: A systematic review.”, Available: openscholarship.wustl.edu, (Retrieved 22nd February 2022)
- Race Equality Foundation (2019) Racial disparities in mental health: Literature and evidence review, Available: raceequalityfoundation.org.uk , (Retrieved 18th February)
- Fenney, D (2019), Tackling poor health outcomes: the role of trauma-informed care, Available: www.kingsfund.org.uk , (Retrieved 18th February 2022)
- Adebiyi, A, Ghezae, F.,. and Mustafa, J., 2022. How does racism affect the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in the UK?, Available: DOI: doi.org (Retrieved 22nd February 2022)
- NSPCC (2022) Types of Child Abuse & How to Prevent Them, Available: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/ , (Retrieved 23rd February 2022)