Gangs and Minority Mental Health

Some months I was asked to write to brief on why I felt so passionate about minority mental health, I wrote from the heart:


A dark cloud hovers over  the lives of people of colour in Britain, and when the rains give way as they do, on this small island, they wash away our hard strained strenuous work and when the day ends over an unseen sunset, some will define us purely by the sum of our misfortunes rather than our efforts.

I have long been unsettled by the over representation of black children in care and mental health services. Our streets have become battle grounds in which our children fight over postcodes and territory. For every teenager that is stabbed or killed, those implicated end up in prison, adding numbers to an overflowing system that is filing with black children. A parent’s grieve for a child is deep and often silent, yet we soldier on, our trauma unobserved, because we are afraid of being misunderstood.

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There are parental and safeguarding challenges within our society, which are compounded by single parenthood, complex issues of identify, migration, domestic violence, emotional, physical abuse, language, culture and wider socio- economic factors. There is conversation to be had about the complex issues that cast a shadow over our resilience and our ancestral history, a progressive conversation which may well occasionally tread us into difficult waters but an urgent and necessary conversation nevertheless. By telling our own narrative, we validate our experiences and appraise the grassroots efforts that so many are engaged in for better outcomes in minority groups.

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I have broad experience of working with deprived and excluded communities with specific focus on safeguarding issues for children and families of black and ethnic minority backgrounds and Gender Violence. My research explores culturally adjusted interventions in mental health. This year I was appointed as Trustee for AFRUCA charity, a honour and a responsibility to carry this work forward.

Dorcas Gwata

Tribal Sands December 2016

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