Black Thrive had nothing to do with the BAME in Psychiatry and Psychology educational talk that took place at Kings College London on the 6th of September 2019. As communications lead, I decided to promote the event on our web page, that is all. I felt this was a good thing to happen and wanted as many of the Black Thrivers that visit the website to attend.

Keisha York, Founder and Director of BAME in Psychiatry and Psychology contacted me a day before the event as Google had said that Black Thrive put the event to start at 7 pm when in fact the event started at 6 pm. We did not place the incorrect information on our website, and so Google must have simply made a mistake.

As this happened, I was determined to go the event to ensure that this was understood by the hard-working team that had organised the evening. The event took place in the New Hunts House Lecture Theatre and on opening the large double doors I was surprised at how many people filled the room (pictured below). It was a fantastic turnout; again, this had nothing to do with Black Thrive. Or maybe a little.

The evening was spent discussing the different issues faced by the BAME community when, often in isolation, someone whispers to themselves “ I want to be a psychiatrist”. The esteemed panel (pictured below) spoke about the difficulties they faced pursuing their dream. There were common obstacles they faced, like needing to get work experience but not being able to afford to work for free. This was highlighted as a significant factor in the low numbers of black professional that work in the field. A veteran of the industry spoke of his amazement at seeing so many black faces at an event on Phsyicatry and Psychology as when he started his journey (possible sometime in the late 70’s early 80’s) there were very few. There were calls to do more and screams for working group formations to carry the vital work Keisha and her team did. Questions were asked about eurocentric ideologies of therapy and whether they served black people well enough. Although the panel could not come to a conclusive answer, all could agree that a mind is a unique place for everyone, so there is not just one solution to fix everyone.

I wanted to give out some flyers and grab a few contacts for the blog on the website. I was happy to learn that many of the attendees had heard of Black Thrive (this is always a plus as a communications lead). However, an even bigger number had heard of our Chairperson Cllr Jacqui Dyer OBE and the great work she is doing in mental health. In the end, what I was left with was a feeling that things will get better as so long as the future of psychiatry and psychology support each other in the way, I witnessed that evening.

I was also happy that I spoke to Keisha and the head of the ACU at King College London, as they seemed happy to run a similar event in Lambeth. Given that our piorities are around employment I'd consider this a win. Watch this space.

 

                             


Sadiki Harris
Communications Lead