Due to ongoing systemic inequalities, young people from racialised communities (communities experiencing racial inequality) have seen their mental wellbeing hit disproportionately hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mental health practitioners trying to support young people from these communities can lack the required 'cultural competence' to understand a lived experience of racism. This can magnify existing traumas, such as job losses and educational disadvantages, which have already been heightened by the pandemic.
Thanks to funding of £650,000 raised by players of People's Postcode Lottery, UK Youth is collaborating with the Centre for Mental Health and The Diana Award to reimagine mental health support for these young people through a new 'Young Changemakers' programme. The programme has been made possible through funding from the Postcode Recovery Fund, which was created to help communities recover from problems exacerbated by the pandemic.
It will see the recruitment of a group of 16-25 year-olds in England with a passion for or lived experience of mental health and racial injustice. The recruited 'Young Changemakers' will be given the opportunity to change mental health support for the better and affect real change. They will get involved with policy influencing, engaging and upskilling frontline practitioners, changing public attitudes, and peer-to-peer support.