Stigma and discrimination can exist where there is a lack of understanding of the culture and needs of others.
Piloted in the West Midlands, 300 Voices bought together community and mental health professionals, and young African and Caribbean men who have experience of mental health problems through workshops and conversations with a view to improving the experience of young African and Caribbean men when using mental health services.
Why 300 Voices?
Young African Caribbean men have something to say about the mental health system that needs to be heard. – Mike Silvera, 300 Voices Project Manager (to March 2016)
Who is 300 Voices?
300 Voices was a partnership. The pilot project was launched in January 2013 in partnership with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, the West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council and young African and Caribbean men with experience of the mental health system.
300 Voices also worked with voluntary and community organisations, universities and schools, family, friends and carers of young African and Caribbean men, whose stories and perspectives are all vital to the conversation and towards improvement.
“Our work is supporting them to come to services earlier, to build relationship and trust and services they do get are appropriate and culturally sensitive. This project needs to open up that debate between young African and Caribbean men and their families and statutory bodies. If you can start that dialogue, and it can be open and honest, it can build trust on both sides.”
Doreen Osbourne, COPE
Much research has been done to show young African and Caribbean men are more likely to have negative experiences when using mental health services, which means that many young men have poorer mental health as a result. Academic evidence and personal stories suggest that the relationship between young African or Caribbean men and mental health services is a key reason for this.