Mental health service for African and Caribbean communities launches in Homerton
PUBLISHED: 16:35 29 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:57 04 December 2019
Homerton based charity Mind in City and Hackney recently launched IRIE mind – a specialist mental health service for the African and Caribbean community.
The service is directed, led and staffed by African Caribbean mental health specialists to cater to the needs of people struggling with mental health issues.
Director of Irie Mind Nichola Lauder told the Gazette: "Our clients said they want a service that speaks to them, that speaks to their culture [and] their heritage - this is something that's been in the pipeline for a very long time."
Psychiatrist Dr Jide Morakinyo spoke at the launch last month about issues of trust between African and Caribbean patients and their doctors. He said that whilst race-based misdiagnoses were a reality in the past the practice is gradually becoming a myth due, in part, to increased safe-guarding measures.
"There's a mistrust between some black young men and their doctors - even though I'm a black doctor," Dr Morakinyo said.
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"A patient is saying to me: 'Are you giving this to me because I'm a Black person?'I have to explain to people: 'I'm not giving that to you because you're a black person but because I think that's what you need.'"
People at the launch shared their thoughts on mental illness and what could be done to help improve mental health in the African and Caribbean communities.
One man said: "We need to listen, to be sensitive and to open up more."
"People should accept each other for who they are - a lot of people don't do that. Once they know you have a [mental health] problem they judge you before they even know you. Even coming here [to Mind's recovery hub] they see that sign - that's why I say just love each other and accept," said another service user at the launch on October 24.
Nichola told the Gazette why they called the project IRIE mind. She said: "Irie is a word synonymous with the Caribbean and means positivity, no problem; everything is going to be okay."
Food was provided by Nyam N Go - an Irie mind cooking group which meets on Wednesdays.
To find out more about IRIE mind click here.
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