Archive for the ‘Black & Ethnic Minority issues’ Category

Young Brits at Art

June 19, 2010

and now for something completely different – with thanks to the Equality and Human Rights website…

The final 100 shortlist in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Young Brits at Art awards paints a telling picture of what young people think ‘a world without prejudice’ would look like. Unity, freedom and body image dominate the shortlisted artworks of the 11 to 19 year olds.


Equality and Human Rights Commission


What would the world look like if we lived without prejudice? We asked you to show us.!v=mao8FdVMaKU

Freedom of expression is a common theme; freedom to choose one’s own religion, freedom to express one’s sexuality but most importantly, freedom to be who you are. Essentially the budding young artists see a world without prejudice as a world where people are bound by their similarities and celebrated for their differences.

The shortlist was whittled down from a record 1,700 youngsters who entered the award, which challenged them to ‘imagine a world without prejudice’.

Entrants were given the opportunity to express their ideas on prejudice and equality using various art media including but not limited to digital animation, sculpture, film and more traditional forms such as print and oil painting.

Neil Kinghan, Director General of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said;

“Young people too often get a bad press.  We sometimes forget the great array of talent in our schools and youth clubs and the contribution which the vast majority of young people make towards making our society more tolerant. Young Brits at Art gives them an opportunity to have those talents recognised; and if we happen to unearth the next Oliver Payne it would be a fantastic bonus.”

Ten overall winners will be selected from the shortlist of 100 and revealed at an awards ceremony on 22 June. A judging panel, consisting of several prominent arts figures and equality champions, will select the winners with all 100 shortlisted pieces displayed at the awards ceremony at the Southbank Centre.

For the ten winners, a month of being an exhibited artist is in store. The Saatchi Gallery, one of the most celebrated art venues in the country, will exhibit the ten winning artworks for the whole of July.


Islamic Social Services Association

June 3, 2010

Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA) Wales is a voluntary organisation which provides a number of services including counselling, befriending, advocacy and chaplaincy.

ISSA WALES will be hosting their first annual conference on Tuesday 29th June 2010, 9.30 am – 4.00 pm at Future Inn, Cardiff Bay. The title is
‘Islam, Muslims & Mental Health’.

I hope you will be able to join us. Please pass this message on to your contacts.

Yours Sincerely
Ameira Bahadur
Project Worker
62 Whitchurch Road,
CF14 3LX
Telephone: 02920 345294

Presentations…DVD…Interactive Workshops
Questions & Answers
Limited places available on a first come first served basis. Booking essential.
Cost: Organisations: £40 per person. £20 for individuals.
Refreshments and lunch included.
For a booking form or more info please email
Or contact us on 02920 345294

Stronger in Partnership 2. WAG publication.

October 20, 2008

This document, issued by the Welsh Assembly Government in the past week, looks at key issues:

“Involving Service Users and Carers in the design, planning, delivery and evaluation of mental health services in Wales”.

If you are a service user experiencing difficulty in getting meaningful involvement, then there is some interesting stuff here.   Let’s hope that some people of influence in the service providers, including the statutory organisations, CVC’s and voluntary organisations also find some tine to read and digest the contents.

The document is available in full under Pages/Essential Reports on this blog.  Click on the document and be a little patient as it loads.   If you have any comments to make about the document, or about how involvement is presently being managed/mismanaged then please send them in to me by e-mail to or   We will be pleased to publish your views.

Bullying in the workplace – YouGov poll result for the TUC.

September 5, 2008

According to a YouGov poll, published on Friday 5th September, and carried out on behalf of the Trades Union Congress, 1 in 7 employees, or 3.5 million people, say that they have been bullied in their present job, and I in 5 say that bullying is an issue where they work.   Although this Blog often receives interest from people who are being bullied at work, the number of people claiming to have this damaging experience is greater that was expected.


The General Secretary of the TUC, Brendan Barber, commented that the percentage of people being bullied at work is ‘completely unacceptable’.  Mr Barber also said that it is particularly worrying that the greatest number of people complaining are employed in the public sector.  And the urgent action that Mr Barber wants to see implemented now?   ‘ Every organisation needs to have an anti-bullying policy, and every manager should ensure that there is zero-tolerance of bullying either by line managers or workmates.’      Well said, but will it become reality?

So, what are the figures for different groups of employers?    The research shows that while about 8% of workers in the voluntary sector complain, it is 12% for the private sector, and a whopping 19% in the public sector.   Gender is also a factor, with 16% of men complaining as opposed to 12% of women.  The relationship with age is that 19% of 45 – 54 year olds and 17% of 35 – 44 year olds are the most likely to be bullied.    Perhaps surprisingly only 8% of the 25 – 34 age group complained.  Could it be that the source of bullying lies more heavily with the younger group in relation to older colleagues?     The research also claims that the people most likely to be bullied are in professional and similar jobs.   It also points out that there is a large professional grouping in jobs such as teaching and health services which may influence the figures obtained.   So what about salary influences?  Well, it may surprise you to know that 17% of those earning between £20 – £60k report bullying or, again, is this the largest responding group?

Whayever, bullying in the workplace, at school, at home and in the community is totally unacceptable and that message needs to be endlessly repeated for those with cloth ears.

Elsewhere on this Blog, under Links, I have previously provided a link to the Andrea Adams Trust – which campaigns ceaselessly against the bullying issue and also offers help and support to those who are suffering.   This year the Ban Bullying at Work Day will be held on 7 November.   Also, if you use the link to the TUC website you will find resources and encouragement to take part in activities of 7th November, and to challenge the bullies who may be making your lives a misery.

Here is the link:

Shelter Cymru

June 12, 2008

Shelter Cymru has a new and local rate Advice line:-  0845 075 5005.   Open 9.30 – 4.30 weekdays, and redirection to an emergency number at other times.

Britney Spears, young celebrities and mental health.

January 6, 2008

The latest news about Britney Spears, and her loss of parental responsibility for her two children, is not only a story of personal tragedy – but also an indictment of the failure of the United States’ politicians to develop effective child protection for working ‘celebrity’ children.  We are well aware of Spears, and also Michael Jackson, and there are others who come to mind including River Phoenix, Drew Barrimore, and Judy Garland.   And is it just the United States that is at fault?  No, it has happened in the UK as well; some of us will remember Lena Zavaroni and the incurability of her anorexia – resulting in her early death, and I am sure there are other ‘celebrity’ young people that we can think of, including Jack Wilde, from the past and the present, who suffered greatly from the pressures they experienced at a time when they were unable to cope with them.     Why are these people of interest in a Mental Health ‘blog’?  Well, because many of these celebrities, and also other individuals who started out as so called child ‘stars’, have ended up in very obvious need of mental health support and services for their circumstances, and for public understanding.  It doesn’t seem to matter whether they were involved in acting, music, television or whatever – for many of them the end result has been mental instability and relationship breakdowns, often coupled with drug and alcohol experiences.   And where and when did those experiences start?   Reading people’s biographies are a good starting point, and many are available in full or synopsis on the internet.  Some tell of being supplied with ‘medication’ – usually speed – to help them through the demands of the film or theatre role, and of their inability to give up the drugs as they grew older.  When you consider the obvious physical fitness of individuals like Madonna, and the lengths they have gone to as adults in order to maintain that fitness -then it is hardly surprising to hear that much younger ‘stars’ – maybe in their teens – needed to be given ‘medication’ to enable them to keep going on stage or while recording.   And what of the developmental conflicts forced on them by adults wanting to persuade the public of one virtue or another of their child/protegy – Britneys public statements about her chastity and virginity come to mind, as does the ‘clean’ image of the Jackson family.  What WERE the adults around Britney thinking of?  It’s hardly surprising that she seems to have gone seriously ‘off the rails’ since being able to make her own choices.

The ‘media’ of course  – (a generalisation I admit) –  grasp the opportunity for reporting (and fuelling?) a ‘good’ story, and rarely find time to research and examine the root causes of these very public failures.   Why?   I am sure there are many reasons, including business income, but I think they are missing a ‘trick’ here.     These are stories that need to be told; stories of the steady decline of individuals into mental ill health and sometimes an early death.   Research into how many others, who maybe never reached ‘celebrity status’, experienced the same ‘support systems’ and ended up on the scrap heap of human failure.   But of course, it wasn’t failure – these children and teenagers weren’t obtaining and administering these items themselves – they were being given them – as some of them record.   I find it a contrary world to have laws and strict regulation about the hours of work for paper boys and girls and for school age shop workers, based on the assessed psychological and physical effects of such work and the young persons’ need for free activity, regular education, etc., and yet to allow – admittedly with regulation – young ‘stars’ to commit to hours of rehearsal each week, and hours of performance even if eased by shift rotas.   And then there may be be world travel; performing before world Personalities, and then the let down when precocity is replaced by normal physical development, and earning power drops.  How can this be right?  I am not impressed by smiling faced twelve year olds telling the news cameras of their delight in their stage roles and how much they are enjoyed.  I am even less impressed by the parents who think that this is a suitable childhood for their children.  Am I a cynic to think it is probably about money and short term futures – because many of these young people are never heard of again in any major roles?   And then, sometimes – all too often it seems to me – we do hear of them; and like Britney and Michael Jackson, and Jack Wilde and River Phoenix, and Lena and Drew and Judy Garland; it is a story of tragedy, emotional pain, dissolusion, relationship difficulties, huge professional treatment fees, and serious mental ill health.  And sometimes self harm and death.  All these individuals were owed the duty of safe parenting, and if that was not there for them, then they were owed the duty of state intervention.  It is too late for Britney; although the state has intervened to protect her children, it did not protect her when she needed it.   And the same for the others.

If you have a similar experience in your own life – of unreasonable expectation and possibly exploitation, then write and tell me.  It may not be to do with the stage, or performance arts, but to do with academic and personal expectations and what happened when they were not achieved.  Did you follow the ‘wrong career’, shack up with the ‘wrong partner’,  or were you just made to feel a failure?  Are you willing to share these experiences with the readers of SpeakEasy?   


International Day to end Violence Against Women

November 26, 2007

End Violence Against Women

Sunday 25th November was the start of the International 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women.  If you, or a friend have suffered such violence, or if you are wanting to get involved to work to bring an end to this criminal behaviour then you may like to have a look at the linked information below.

Statistics for violence against women

Violence against women is a major problem in the UK. In fact, almost half of all women in the UK experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking (Walby & Allen, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking: Findings from the British Crime Survey, 2004).

For some forms of violence against women such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation, rape and sexual violence, trafficking and forced prostitution we have limited statistics. This is due to a number of factors including: the hidden nature of the abuse; fear and stigma preventing reporting and lack of systematic data collection by the UK Government. The figures that are available are likely to be an underestimate.

Millions of women and girls every year are being beaten, raped, mutilated, abducted, forced to marry, and murdered. It’s time for the violence to stop.

The links on the left of this page will take you to a list of facts and statistics that illustrate just how prevalent violence against women is here in the UK.

Key research:

Stigma – self examination – a start

February 12, 2007

Do YOU ‘dish out’ stigma??  What DO you mean?   Well, do you…

Avoid certain people because…they smell/talk too much/stutter/dress odd etc., 

and maybe

Keep clear of gays in case you get HIV…..

Feel that your depressed friend only needs to shake him/herself out of it,,,

Speak for your friend in groups because they won’t be able to….and before they can

Patronise someone with mental health issues…forgetting your own

Pretend to be attentive and listening when you want to…be far away

Make excuses for not inviting then to…anything that links them to you

Distrust all police…

Jeer at those who drive cautiously…walk oddly…slow to do something

Bully a less able person because you can – and then tell they can

Laugh at kids who are carers for their parent/s..

Well, do you?

Stigma and Discrimination

January 31, 2007

A few weeks ago I wrote that I would be starting to gather information and comment on the Stigma issue which affects the lives of so many people with mental ill health.    The subject of mental ill health is one which attracts mythology, untruth, supposition, misunderstanding, mistrust – and most “mis -somethings” that you can think of.     Of course, fear, embarrassment, denial, exclusion, are all high in the stigma ratings, and is has disturbed me to hear people say sadly that the place where they feel they have experienced greatest stigma, and stigma which really gets to them, is in their own families.   Workplace stigma, loss of peer group friends for young people, community bullying, and unacceptable descriptive words are all part of the experience of those struggling with mental ill health, and it’s negative effects on their lives.   It needs to be dealt with, and in an effective and cohesive way, and during 2007 it will feature strongly in the work of the Monmouthshire Mental Health Network and also the work of Service User Involvement.   If you would like to become involved in some small or big way in working on getting information out into the press and community which creates better understanding, and hopefully starts to reduce stigma, then let me know by e-mail, and I will keep you informed.   If you feel strongly enough to want to take a lead role in the work group, then say so, and full facilities will be available.

E-mail to, or click on the stigma links in the categories or links section on the right side of the opening page, and send me a comment.

The following is an extract from the website of the Mental Health Alliance which offers two examples of recent press reporting.   It encourages you to write to the Editors of the two newspapers and tell them what you think about these comments.  

 The Sunday Times, ‘Mentally ill murder 400’

The Observer, ‘One person a week killed by mentally ill’

These were the headlines on the front of the Sunday Times and the Observer in December 2006, about the Department of Health’s report on suicides and homicides by people in contact with mental health services.

Headlines like these can add to the stigma and discrimination that people with mental health problems face. It’s important to tell newspapers how stories like this can affect you: your life, your work, your relationships.

You need to explain the effect that headlines like ‘Mentally ill murder 400’ have on you, how it affects perceptions of people with mental health problems, and the impact that has on your life.

The causes of so many of the deaths, homicides and suicides, were health service failings. The solution to these deaths is better mental health services. It’s important to remind newspapers that it is the poor state of mental health services that are the real problem.

Please send a copy of any letters you send to a newspaper to

Mental Health Works

January 31, 2007

I have recently been in contact with Mary Ann Baynton, Director of Mental Health Works, Ontario, Canada.   Mental Health Works provide a really interesting site for those involved with work issues and mental illness.   A link is now provided in our Links column and if this is your area of interest then the site is well worth a look for its attitudes, views, and explanation of the duties of employers and rights of employees in relation to mental health issues.  There may be differences between UK and Canadian Employmenty law – I don’t know – but the principles and positive approach are refreshing.