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As part of Black History Month, EMPHASIS, our network group for Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues and anti-racist allies has been sharing stories, materials and information with their colleagues to champion equality, diversity and inclusion.

In our Talking Together Wirral service Ciara Boakye (She / Her), Locality Lead and High Intensity Therapist, has been encouraging her team to get involved in Black History Month.

Ciara delivered a presentation about Black History Month which focused on her locality’s population demographics and service access rates. Ciara highlighted some of the key inequalities experienced by the Black community that are relevant to our work as a mental health provider, such as health, housing, employment and crime. Ciara also signposted the team to local events and media platforms that can provide more information.

Ciara explains:

“I’ve asked for a recurring section in our service’s weekly email update throughout October to highlight any other resources, events, or activities that our team may be interested in. This will hopefully include information on important local Black figures, book reviews and events.

So far, I’ve signposted the team to the British Red Cross Instagram page, where there is a recent live conversation on the intersection between mental health, culture and heritage. I’ve also recommended the Diary of a CEO podcast episode with David Harewood about his mental health experiences and racial identity. I’ve also shared information about local events such as ‘Black History Conversations’ at Birkenhead Park and ‘The Black Market’, Liverpool’s first Black business and creative focussed market.”

Recommended reading

Ciara has also set up a mini library in the Talking Together Wirral office with books by Black authors. The selection includes fiction, non-fiction, biographies, history, young adult stories, and even a baby book based on a Nigerian lullaby. We’re pleased to share that this month nearly all the books have been checked out.

Titles include:

  • Malorie Blackman, Noughts and Crosses
  • David Harewood, Maybe I Don’t Belong Here
  • Zadie Smith, White Teeth
  • Bolu Babalola, Love in Colour
  • Candice Carty-Williams, Queenie
  • Candice Brathwaite, I’m Not Your Baby Mother
  • David Olusoga, The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire
  • Derek Owusu, That Reminds Me
  • Atinuke, Baby, Sleep Baby
  • David Olusoga – Black and British
  • Helaine Becker, Counting on Katherine
  • Dorothy Koomson, Marshmallows for Breakfast
  • Adam Rutherford – How to Argue with a Racist

For more recommendations, check out the Waterstones Black History Month Collection.

Ciara says:

“I’d like to encourage my colleagues to talk to their teams about Black History Month to open up conversations about how we can reach communities that are typically underrepresented in our services, to make sure no one struggles alone with their mental health.”

We’re so proud of Ciara, who has gone above and beyond to champion equality, diversity and inclusion in her service.

Ciara is using her passion to inspire others and create a more inclusive environment for both colleagues and service users. This will allow us to provide more accessible mental health support and help us to reach unreached communities.

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