Express yourself in art, poetry, music, drama or dance

Following on from the community engagement sessions they have delivered as part of developing a culturally appropriate peer support and advocacy service (CAPSA), Black Thrive’s Shola Apena Rogers and Keisha Swaby have also been working alongside a group of service users to co-design the service offer and preferred methods of delivery.

“We want to ensure that the service meets the needs of Black communities in Lambeth,” says Shola, who shares with Keisha the post of Interim Programme & Partnership Manager (Adult Mental Health), “and provides a template for the way in which other mental services within SLaM (South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust) are designed. The initial community engagement sessions identified the following themes that we want to explore and develop further: 

  •    Understanding the different shadesof blackness 

  •    Having a foundation for culturally appropriate work 

  •    Partnership – bridging the gap between community and systems/services 

  •    Representation 

  •    Experiences of and feelings about services 

  •    Understanding the individuals perspective 

  •    Desire for alternative mental health options 

  •    Agency and empowerment to choose 

  •    The need to connect to manage lifes stressors 

We want to reach out to service users, carers, family members, NHS and voluntary staff, existing peer support workers and wider community group leaders and ideally, we would like to recruit people who would be willing to talk to us, and the service user researchers, in an interview. 

“This would help us understand the range of experiences of black service users accessing mental health services. We recognise that some people want to express themselves differently through art, poetry, music, drama and dance and we would welcome these alternative ways of storytelling.”

“Service users and carers will receive a £15 voucher for participating by any of the ways mentioned above.

“We really appreciate individuals taking the time to share their experiences with us for this project.”

Contact via email at or and on 07737 494 179 if you prefer to call. 

Karen Hooper

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