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ABOUT US

The Black Mental Health Manifesto was born out of the collective efforts of the Black Mental Health and Wellbeing Alliance—a coalition made up of individuals and groups, including Black and racialised people with lived experience, caregivers, practitioners, researchers, and representatives from community organisations and national charities. We joined forces, drawing upon our unique perspectives and expertise, to delve into the evidence, refine existing recommendations, and creating new ones with the shared aim of addressing the pressing issues facing Black mental health.
 

Our journey began with a series of workshops facilitated by the Ubele Initiative between 2022 and 2023. In these sessions, we came together to share our stories, learn from one another, and collaborate on crafting solutions. Among us were participants from organizations like Adira, BAYO, Black Minds Matter, Black Thrive Global, Black Thrive Haringey, Centre for Mental Health, Diverse Cymru, Efficacy EVA, Kori, Mind, Mind in Haringey, Mind Tower Hamlets-Newham and Redbridge, Nilaari, Partisan, Rethink Mental Illness, and the Ubele Initiative, each bringing their own valuable insights and contributions.
Our supporter base keeps growing and we welcome it, we can only achieve these ambitions together.

Meet The Team

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Dr. Ariel Breaux Torres

Ariel is a mental health expert and US clinical and forensic psychologist with years of experience working in prison and forensic hospital settings, making her no stranger to the disproportionate disadvantage faced by Black people in all facets of life.

Ariels passion for fighting for changes in the system stems from her uncle’s experience with PTSD and substance abuse, stemming from war trauma. Witnessing his victimisation by the ‘war on drugs’, the severity of his mental health problems and the lack of support he received, leading him to a life sentence for substance possession, fuelled her to become a mental health professional and fight for change from the inside out.

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Kadra Abdinasir
 

Kadra has worked in mental health policy, research and engagement for charities over the past decade.

Kadra specialises in children and young people and inequities in mental health, including racial inequities. She is an organiser at #CharitySoWhite and a member of the board of trustees for a number of mental health and equality organisations.

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Nisa Chisipochinyi


Nisa comes from a family impacted by mental illness and has over a decade of experience as a mental health specialist (psychotherapy).

She is dedicated to transforming the mental health sector, through centralising the experiences of racialised people, with a special interest in using creativity and the arts to improve mental health. 

Nisa's approach focuses on community-led initiatives which influence policy changes and inform mental health practices.

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Adam Lawrence Rodriguez


Adam has worked in mental health and social inequality charities over the past 7 years, working within project management and specialist race equity roles.

Adam has also spent a significant amount of time supporting people experiencing suicide ideation and is currently developing in the field of Psychotherapy, specialising in relationships and couples.

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Dr. Yansie Rolson

Yansie is a mental health professional and trainer who creates, affects and sustains change at all levels in order to improve physical, mental and social wellbeing.
 

Yansie works across Europe, Africa, America and the Caribbean designing, implementing and evaluating mental health strategies for marginalised communities and also undertakes research and facilitates workshops and community conversations on diversity and inclusion in menopause and cultural contexts of bereavement, grief and loss. She is actively engaged in increasing uptakes of social prescribing interventions within Black and racially minoritised communities.

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Jay Perkins

Jay is the Founder and CEO of Partisan, a Black-led Community Interest Company. He started his career as a Youth Worker 16 years ago before training as a Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychodynamic Psychotherapist and EMDR Therapist.

Jay is forward thinking and innovative in his field, with leadership and strategic experience, as well as clinical expertise working alongside marginalised and racialised communities outside of traditional settings. He is most interested in partnering, collaborating and innovating with people and organisations who hold similar values, want to see real change, and are also pushing towards a more equitable future world.

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Ursula Myrie

Ursula is the CEO and founder of Adira, an organisation that supports Black people with mental health issues. 

 

Ursula is an expert by experience for Rethink Mental Illness 

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Christopher Frederick

Christopher Frederick is a diverse individual whose journey from North West London to Asia has enriched his global perspective. Over two decades, he immersed himself in dynamic locales like Singapore, Hong Kong, and China, absorbing diverse cultures.

Confronting a mental health crisis in 2018, Chris embarked on a self-recovery journey that led to his present path. His insights on Mental Health, Loneliness, and Social Inequalities drive tangible improvements in patient outcomes. Chris blends curiosity, empathy, and advocating for societal concerns. Chris's voluntary roles in the Health & Social Care sector, underscores his growth-focused journey and commitment to positive change.

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Patrick Vernon OBE

Patrick Vernon OBE is Chair of Birmingham and Solihull ICS which commissions health care for a population 1.2 million people and is Chair of Walsall Together Health Partnership. He is a Patron of ACCI, a long established Black mental health charity and of Santé Refugee Mental Heath Access Project. He is also an Independent Adviser on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for the Crown Prosecution Service.
 

Patrick been helping to expose the Home Office Windrush Scandal since 2018 in one of the first growing online petitions calling for an amnesty for the Windrush Generation.

Patrick is a broadcaster, public speaker, and EDI advocate and writes blogs and articles for the national and international media on healthcare, mental health, cultural heritage and race.

Debbie

Debbie is an unpaid carer with over 13 years of lived experience, driven by a passion for advocacy and change. She has dedicated herself to caring for her son diagnosed with a mental health illness. Debbie serves as an activist striving for change within mental health services, collaborating on projects with Equality and Diversity Leads, NHS, local councils, universities, and participating in national and international mental health conferences.
 

Her expertise lies in mental health lived experience, supporting fellow carers in navigating the complex mental health framework. Debbie actively uses her knowledge and personal journey to address health inequity, especially focusing on better outcomes for Black men experiencing mental health challenges. Her commitment to volunteer work underscores her determination to create a positive impact in the field of mental health. Currently working on a research project in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Ruqia Osman

Ruqia Osman has spent the last 9 years working closely with racialised communities, public sector organisations and voluntary sector organisations. Driven by her personal experience and observing the ways in which mental illness and racialised inequalities continue to impact her community,  Ruqia is committed to bringing people together to build socially just communities by facilitating radical change and eradicating systemic barriers.
 

Through working directly with communities and conducting research on topics relating to race, health inequalities, skin lightening and colourism, Ruqia has developed a deep understanding of the devastating ways in which systemic racism impacts public health, particularly for those who are most marginalised in the UK.

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Lynette Charles

Lynette is a CEO in Haringey, Chair of Mind in London and Lead of Black Thrive in Haringey where for the past 7 years she has used her extensive knowledge and experience of Mental Health and Wellbeing to lead Mind in Haringey from near closure to a position of not just surviving but thriving!

Lynette has an additional 27 years of experience in health social care and community development work.

In part, her success is because she has been absolutely grounded in what a community organisation should be doing, and how to have an impact.  Lynette has walked the walk and remained committed to improving the mental health and wellbeing of our whole community.

Lynette is a MHFA facilitator, ASSIST facilitator, Humanistic Counsellor, Coach and Psychology Graduate. Her special interests are -Young People, Mental Health, Suicide, Counselling and Spirituality. She is also a mother of two and a grandmother of three. 

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