Essential reading for anyone working in this sector or with an interest in human rights and social justice, this year’s list showcases the top individuals and organisations that have done outstanding work in the arena of ethnicity and mental health as it relates to the UK’s African Caribbean communities in the past 12 months.
This year has seen many of the issues BMH UK has been campaigning against such as black deaths in custody and the highly coercive treatment and care meted out to this group when they come into contact with mental health services gain new ground.
BMH UK’s Top 30 list for 2013 acknowledges the individuals and organisations that have in no small way assisted in the work that we do to address the human rights abuses faced by too many vulnerable black people who come in contact with mental health services, often with tragic consequences.
Matilda MacAttram director of BMH UK said: ‘The outstanding achievements of those who have made BMH UK’s Top 30 List for 2013 serves as an inspiration of what is being done by the most dedicated and inspiring professionals, activists and individual across this sector.
While resistance by vested interests and the opportunists seeking only self promotion from some of the most tragic incident that have occurred in this sector can make this a challenging arena to work in, this list showcases the best of what is happening in this sector.’
‘We want people to read our list of the top 30 for 2012 and be inspired to do even more in 2014.’
Read BMH UK’s Top 30 List for 2013 here:
Government & public policy
1. Lord Herman Ouseley , has again proved to be a voice for the voiceless at the heart of power throughout 2013.
2. Charles Walker MP , has proved to be a politician with the courage of his convictions, taking the most challenging and repeatedly sidelined issue of black deaths in custody to the heart of power. Walker made history this December 2013 by tabling the first ever parliamentary debate on black deaths in custody.
3. Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care & Support , from accepting to be the keynote speaker at first ever national conference on Policing, Mental Health & black Briton organised by ACCI & BMH UK in June, to chairing a ministerial round table on mental health and Briton’s African Caribbean communities, this senior politician has been true to his word and kept his door and more importantly ears open to concerns and many injustices faced by black people who come in contact with mental health services.
4. Andrew Mitchell MP , former chief whip, with firsthand experience of falling victim to the worst aspects of policing, not unlike many of the service users from the UK’s African Caribbean communities, Mitchell has given his time to support the work of BMH UK behind the scenes in 2013.
5. Dr Leslie Thomas LLB , currently barrister for the Duggan family in the Mark Duggan inquest, Thomas, was contacted by the family of the latest death in custody victim, Leon Briggs from Luton immediately after the 39-year-old tragically lost his life, after he was taken into police custody in November this year.
6. Chinyere Inyama, Her Majesty’s Coroner for West London , Inyama made legal history as the first black coroner in 2011. He continues to support the work of mental health as it relates to people from the UK’s African Caribbean communities as patron of ACCI (African Caribbean Community Initiative).
7. Matilda MacAttram, Black Mental Health UK , continues to lead the only agency from the community that lobbies parliament for positive change in the way people from the UK’s African Caribbean communities in need of mental health care are treated. She has taken this issue to the United Nations (UN) and it has been before the Human Rights Council at the United Nations General Assembly in August this year.
8. Dr Frank Chinegwundoh MBE, consultant urologist Harley Street, chair of Cancer Black Care . A leader in the field of cancer care, the pioneering work he is focusing on in relation to the physical wellbeing of mental health service users from the UK’s African Caribbean communities.
9. Alicia Spence, ACCI (African Caribbean Community Initiative) . The life saving work of one of the oldest black led services in this sector cannot be underestimated. Spence’s leadership.Spence’s standard of excellence and leading by example, ensures that everyone who uses this service is treated with humanity and compassion that make this a rare mental health facility that black people do not fear using.
10. Marie Walker, Black People’s Mental Health Association , leads the only black led mental health service in Waltham Forest, offering a ‘safe space’ for both carers and those who use mental health services from this community.
11. Dr Geraldine Strathdee, National Clinical Director of Mental Health, NHS England , a clinician with a vision for making real improvements for the very groups whose poor treatment has been sidelined in recent years. Her planned reforms on better early intervention and less compulsion has brought new optimism to one of the most challenging areas of mental health care.
12. Rachel Barclay, executive director, Two Way Street , leads this much needed black African Caribbean mental health social firm in Bristol.
13. Amos Omerri , has articulated the need to ensure that humanity and accountability lies at the heart of services at forums including the IPCC (Independent Police Complaint Commissions) Article 2 review, and ACCI & BMH UK national conference on policing, mental health & black Briton.
14. London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee (PCC) , the support of PCC chair, Joanne McCartney, deputy chair Jenny Jones and Jennette Arnold has ensured BMH UK’s concerns around policing in the capital has been kept on London government’s agenda.
15. Bob Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands (PCC) & Yvonne Mosquito Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner their initiative and drive in the area of mental health and policing, has led to some of the best practice in the country. Unlike parts of London that are home to some of the largest African Caribbean communities, West Midlands police do not take anyone known to officers as needing mental health into police custody.
16. Commander Christine Jones, Metropolitan Police’s lead for Mental Health & ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) lead for mental health . Many of the high level policy changes taking place at this time have been greatly improved by Cmdr Jones, who effortlessly sweeps aside resistance to reform on mental health services over-reliance on the police when dealing with vulnerable people experiencing a mental health crisis.
17. The Voice Newspaper, Briton’s leading black newspaper’s support of BMH UK’s work and partnership on ACCI & BMH UK’s national conference on Policing, Mental Health & black Briton have ensured that BMH UK’s key messages and campaign work has reached the heart of the community. BMH UK particularly appreciate George Ruddock, Elizabeth Pears, Poppy Brady & Natricia Ducan’s backing throughout 2013.
18. Amina Taylor, Press TV , whenever there’s a story on mental health and black Briton, Amina is guaranteed to be there with her camera crew and microphone to get BMH UK’s perspective.
19. Doton Adebayo, BBC Radio London , this broadcaster and journalist has given BMH UK’s campaigns airtime and opened to the doors to senior officials in positions of power that has helped to take the campaign work to new levels in 2013.
20. Colleen Harris, BBC’s support of BMH UK’s work throughout 2013 has made sure our campaigns and key messages have reached Londoner’s and black community across the regions.
21. Voice of Africa Radio, Alkebu-lan Revivalist Movement , consistent inclusion of BMH UK’s news and campaigns in their empowering weekly broadcasting.
22. Michelle Fullerton & family , since getting in contact with BMH UK days after the tragic death of Andell Malia just three weeks into the beginning of 2013, this family have faced a David and Goliath battle, to uncover exactly how this physically healthy 24-year-old died, after seeking help from mental health services as a voluntary patient.
23. J4L (Justice for Leon Briggs) campaign , Leon’s family and this campaigns commitment to hold weekly vigils outside Luton police station sends a loud message the highly coercive treatment meted out to men from the community when in crisis will no longer be tolerated.
24. Rupert Sylvester and family, Campaign for Justice for Roger Sylvester , tirelessly campaigning since 1999, the Sylvester’s have in many ways also become the voice of so many families of service users who have also lost their lives at the hands of the police.
25. Ajibola Lewis, Justice for Seni campaign , was catapulted into a campaign for justice in 2010, after staff at South London & Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Trust called in a squad of officers, to restrain her son, Olaseni Lewis, for 45 minutes, just 24 hours after he had been admitted as a voluntary patient. Three years into their pursuit of justice, the strength and tenacity of this family are commendable.
26. Kedisha Burrell’s, Justice for Kingsley Burrell-Brown , commitment to secure justice for her brother three years after he was restrained by police while detained under the Mental Health Act has seen her, with the backing of BMH UK, take her campaign to parliament.
27. Marcia Rigg, Sam Rigg-David, Sean Rigg Justice and Change , continuing the fight for justice for singer and songwriter Sean Rigg, who lost his life at Brixton Police station while in urgent need of mental health care in 2008.
Church & Human Rights
28. Bishop Llewellyn Grayham, New Testament Church of God , a consistent supporter of the work of BMH UK in and out of season, he offers the perfect example for other church leaders from the community to emulate.
29. Archdeacon Daniel Kajumba, Committee for Ethnic Minority Anglican Concerns , uses his high office in serving ‘the very least of these’ and support BMH UKs in fighting against the injustices faced by some of most vulnerable in society.
30. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent / BMH UK’s director Matilda MacAttram raised human rights concerns about the treatment of black patients by mental health services with the United Nations Working Group on People of African Descent (UNWGPAD). This has been included in a presentation to United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Council in August 2013, and has for the first time put the treatment of people from the UK’s African Caribbean communities who come in contact with mental health services on to the international human rights agenda.