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Mental Health: BLAM and NHS to host youth violence event

YOUTH VIOLENCE: Many feel that the mental health trauma of youth violence survivors and their families is going unaddressed

THE NHS and charity Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health (BLAM) will explore approaches to tackling mental health trauma associated with youth violence at a special event tomorrow.

The free interactive seminar will feature people with lived experiences sharing their thoughts on mental health and youth violence. Videos showcasing grassroots activists such as George the Poet will be screened and attendees will be encouraged to participate throughout the evening.

The event is a collaboration between, BLAM, a charity that aims to implement the importance of understanding African and Caribbean influence within society by providing free, innovative black history lessons to children of key stage one and two learning ages and South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust.

Ife Thompson, co-founder of BLAM, told The Voice: “The youth violence seminar is very much needed due to the recent media drawn focus on youth, gang violence within the capital. We felt that it would be necessary with our platform to bring the discussion from a holistic angle. We have seen many people asking Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, to implement changes with a more holistic approach that will take into consideration the root causes of youth violence.”

A recent study by mental health charity Touchstone revealed that people from West Yorkshire’s BME communities with mental health concerns feel ignored and struggle to find a voice. Such experiences are echoed around the country.

Thompson, who is training to be a barrister, said: “BLAM are aware of the stigma within BAME groups and we believe empowerment and understanding of one’s self and your history is one of the best ways of liberating the mind.”

The youth offending team worker added that the NHS recently reached out to BLAM in order to provide a series of workshops on mental health aimed at BAME communities.

The event will feature a panel talk and offer the audience the opportunity to share their opinions, experiences and exchange ideas.

Panelists include Thompson, Toyin Yakubu, special educational needs children specialist and BLAM co-founder, Hayley Sarah Jane Mills, social activist and Doreen Boateng-Amponsah, mental health worker and BLAM charity member.

All are welcome to attend. The event will take place on Thursday May 17 from 7pm to 8.30pm at Recovery College, Building 28, Springfield Hospital, 61 Glenburnie Road SW17 7DJ.

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