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Akram: What you see in crisis services or what records say is just tip of the iceberg. Remind yourself of the barriers, societal and individuals faced by young Black men. Some of these are covered in the Barriers to Access guide.
Saf: In relation to records there are a few facts to consider. Lack of diagnosis, or having an existing diagnosis can be both negative and a positive. The professional who entered the record might have seen the young person at a different or more challenging point in their journey. It is always good to reassess the young person when you speak to them.
Akram: When speaking to us use clear, easy to understand language. If there are any techniques you will use during the interaction, explain them and check if we have understood.
[END OF VIDEO]
When in crisis, for us to trust you with our vulnerability, consider using different verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to build rapport and conversation. Acknowledge that we might feel that vulnerability is a sign of weakness or have been made to feel that way in the past. During the conversation, reassure the young person you see that being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness (Prince’s Trust, 2017).
Use straightforward to understand words without any jargon. If there are any interventions you will use during the interaction, explain them, and check if we have understood.
Ask questions like ‘Have you heard about this (name of the intervention) before?’ or ‘What is your understanding of this (name of the intervention)?’
The way in which we are communicated verbally can also impact our experience. There are some phrases we will cover in the ‘Experience of Crisis Support’ video, such as ‘Man Up’ and ‘Everyone goes through it’, which are dismissive. We believe that this is not always your intention when you use these phrases, as they are widespread in society or casual conversations.
In the Barriers to Access guide, we also emphasised that understanding of the English language might be a barrier, and services should always have an interpreter available.
We know our records can help you deliver timely support when we cannot communicate our needs due to mental health distress. However, records ‘are just a tip of the iceberg’.
In relation to records, remember that:
- Some young Black men might not have a diagnosis on their record because this would be their first-time accessing crisis services.
- Records do not include the whole picture, such as conversations with community members. We hear the expression ‘it takes a village’ used a lot in Black communities because sometimes we rely on the support from community members with support for mental health, amongst other things, due to not accessing services.
- If a young person has an existing diagnosis, don’t assume that they are in crisis services for that reason.
- In 42nd Street’s (2017) Perceptions report, 88% of Black respondents did not agree with their diagnosis compared with 14% of white respondents.
In line with patient-centred care delivery, it is always good practice to assess the young person’s communication and mental health needs when you speak to them.
- Prince’s Trust (2017) Stigma stopping young people talking about mental health, Available: www.princes-trust.org.uk, (Retrieved 23rd February 2022
- 42nd Street (2017) Perceptions: Peer research into the needs and perceptions of young black men on mental health and wellbeing, Available: manchestercommunitycentral.org, (Retrieved 22nd February 2022)
- The Health Foundation (2016), Person-centred care made simple What everyone should know about person-centred care, Available: www.health.org.uk, (Retrieved 19th February 2022)