Reflecting on the Launch event of the IAPT BAME Positive Practice Guide 2020 by Saiqa Naz, Co-author, IAPT BAME Positive Practice Guide
I would firstly like to thank the North West PPNs very own Clare and Polly for recognising the importance of the role the NWPPN has to play in helping us to redress the inequalities BAME communities face in mental health services.
It was a pleasure working alongside them to plan and deliver the Manchester launch of the IAPT BAME Positive Practice Guide in January. I recall speaking to Clare about the barriers we’ve experienced in trying to implement the guide and the BAME mental health work in general and before I knew it, both Clare and Polly were all hands on with helping to plan the launch event! I felt heard, supported and hopeful throughout this experience of working with them.
I’m very excited about the launch of this webpage (thank you Polly). I think many of us will agree a dedicated page for working with BAME communities is long overdue. The visual minutes and videos were Clare and Polly’s ideas. I felt overwhelmed that they valued this work and it wasn’t a battle to be heard as it so often is. For those of us who are expected to work with BAME communities, we become accustomed to being told there aren’t enough resources to help us with our work with BAME communities (yet expected to deliver the same outcomes) and therefore we stop asking for and expecting any support and put pressure on ourselves to deliver on service expectations.
This event was a reminder that we should no longer remain complacent and should expect and receive more support and resources to work with BAME communities. I personally will no longer accept the excuse that there are not enough resources or stigma as a barrier to providing good quality care for BAME communities. I beg to differ. The resources are there, but need to be distributed a bit more equitably. If your services are not resourced adequately, please don’t further disadvantage BAME communities.
I had planned a session for commissioners, but unfortunately they were not represented that day and the conversation somewhat stalled. I am open to ideas about how to engage them as ironically they seem really ‘Hard to Reach’ and are stalling progress. I would also encourage you to speak to your senior leaders to work collaboratively with local BAME communities and commissioners to ensure your services are adequately resourced.
I would also like to thank all the delegates, including members from the BAME community for attending the IAPT BAME Positive Practice Guide launch event and to Kamer, Clare, Samina and Richard for showcasing their fabulous acting skills for the play ‘Mein Pagal Nahin Houn’ (I am not crazy). It was nice to be able to perform the play with Kamer and Samina again.
Last, but not least the data we are now seeing of those affected by COVID-19 clearly shows that BAME people are disproportionately affected. Sooner or later, those affected will be needing our support and we MUST be prepared to meet their needs. I am doing quite a bit of outreach with the BAME community, which includes promoting the guide and making them aware of the structural barriers in mental health services. I am not sugar-coating anything. I am encouraging people to work with their local mental health services and to not shy away from complaining about poorly resourced and delivered services.
I hope you find the resources on this page helpful. Much of the guidance will also help improve care for other diverse groups including men and the LGBTQ community.
I look forward to your support in helping to change the narrative around for BAME communities by using the IAPT BAME Positive Practice Guide. I am confident this is absolutely possible if we all take some responsibility regardless of whether we identify as BAME or not. Now is a good time for you to reach out to your local BAME communities via local community and faith organisations.
Co-author, IAPT BAME Positive Practice Guide