Arts impact on Black Mental Health in Lambeth: Starting a Dialogue

Monday, October 16th, 2017 2-4pm Health Foundry

Event write-up

Key discussion points

  • Can the arts be used to empower service users and local people to articulate their experiences of racism and discrimination in using mental health and other services in Lambeth? How?


  • How do you create opportunities for service users and carers to explore new experiences and opportunities around the arts around skills development?


  • Really important to work with a cultural institution with a proper insight into BME cultural heritage to co-design approach – would make any arts programme more informed and relevant to the individual.


  • Useful to develop a network of art practitioners and arts/heritage organisations to work with service providers and commissioners especially around the alliance contract providers


  • Need to develop evidence base - how does black heritage or the arts contribute to mental wellbeing and self-esteem?


  • What would a social prescribing model with the arts and heritage targeting the black community look like in terms of the target audience (children & young people, adults of working age with mild depression, service users with a long-term history of depression or psychosis, older people with dementia)?


  • Need to challenge leadership on white privilege


  • Really important to support families/carers and not just the individual. Perhaps a joint arts activity could help with supporting these people and also strengthening bonds.


  • Need to get commissioners on board with any arts intervention from the start to increase the chance of long-term sustainability.


  • Need to make sure language used is inclusive, not too academic, institutional or distancing.


  • Could be useful to connect with national Social Prescribing Network – they may also need our help in becoming more diverse.


  • Highly recommend reading recent All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts and Wellbeing report “Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing” for comprehensive national picture and robust evaluation.

Suggestions for future agendas/events

  • More dance and movement
  • Circus skills
  • Events about older people
  • Impact of loss and bereavement also takes its toll, especially on youngsters
  • Journeys of appreciation
  • Cultural complacency
  • Hearing where the leadership are in terms of unconscious bias


Feedback from attendees

“Zena was terrific!”

“The discussion was really productive”

“The Alchemy project was fantastic – movement is so important...”

“Found it useful hearing how the arts help to express and communicate - physically, spoken word, visual artwork etc”

“Remember older people…”

“Great to have the opportunity to hear about a range of projects…”

“Please do more events like these...”

“Step two is to follow on from today!”

“Keep at it, keep it up, the arts is a vital outlet for release…”


Artist Pen Mendonca created this illustration of the day's events

Please let us know if you have any further suggestions or feedback following the event:

Patrick [email protected] or Ali [email protected]