Blog: My experience at the Black Minds Matter event

Written by Student Content Shaper Sharon Boadu

My name is Sharon and I’m a Ghanaian Master’s student studying Development Policy and Politics, as well as being a Student Content Shaper.

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As part of UoB's Black History Month, I had the empowering opportunity to attend Black Minds Matter UK's 'With You(th) in Mind' event in Birmingham. The event was aimed at 17-24 year olds in the UK with the intention to raise awareness on youth mental health through an intersectional lens, with a focus on the Black lived experience  and to also encourage young people to seek support before the point of crisis. Personally, as an international student from Africa, where mental health issues are met with frowns and awkward conversations, I found it really useful and exciting to join this event, add my voice and support to the conversation.


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Discussions and useful resources

Through the workshops, panels and group discussions I attended, I was sign posted to lots of useful resources such as the services provided by Suicide and Co and the Black Minds Matter organisation including where to find black therapists, and various blog posts on black people’s experience with mental health. 

Black people have been perceived as strong and tough over the years, and as a community, we have glossed over the need to treat our mental health needs. Black people often work with therapists who do not share their background, resulting in a cultural and nuanced gap. All black students reading this who need help managing their mental health could sign up for Black Minds Matter's free 12-week online classes when they become available. They will offer you a safe environment in which to speak with a qualified and registered therapist who looks like you and understands the complexities of black culture. I completely intend to sign up for this service; why don't you?

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Final reflections on the day

Overall, the event was an overwhelming success since it accomplished precisely what it set out to do: highlight mental health issues and services with the purpose of eradicating mental health stigma, particularly in the black community. I received a lot of validation from the space, since I saw others who were dealing with similar difficulties but were still able to thrive within their very own sphere of influence. It gave me a lot of optimism for the future when mental health is taken as seriously as physical health.


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