Centre for Mental Health is committed to taking an anti-racist approach in every aspect of our work. A group of staff, chaired by our Chief Executive Sarah Hughes, has been meeting since summer 2020 to discuss what needs to be done in our own organisation to tackle racism. Our anti-racism statement, below, sets out our intentions to tackle racism at both a structural and individual level.
We are in the process of providing anti-racism training for staff, trustees and associates, and creating a preferred language glossary to ensure everyone at the Centre communicates in a way which is empowering and respectful. We have undertaken an initial survey with staff to understand where the key issues may be, and are using the findings to shape our work going forward.
Centre for Mental Health's anti-racism statement
We know that racism is an assault against people, and that it causes pain and trauma across communities and generations. We know that racism profoundly and negatively impacts mental health and is endemic within the mental health system and the charity sector. We know that structural and institutional racism exists across society; it is systemic. We know that people die because of racism around the world every day. Centre for Mental Health will work to eradicate racism.
We accept that to do this with meaning and to have impact we must be ready to question our own roles in perpetuating racial inequality within our own lives, at work, within the culture of our organisation and within our own communities.
Anti-racism goes beyond thinking that racial prejudice is wrong: it understands that racism is systemic across all structures of society. It accepts that truly dismantling racism will require all of us to actively call out every instance of racism, both structural and individual, and actively fight against white supremacy. Centre for Mental Health is committed to taking an anti-racist approach in every aspect of its work.
Our work tackling racial inequality is intertwined with tackling poverty, poor housing, criminalisation and poor access to education; issues which disproportionately impact people from racialised communities. And we will seek to tackle racism through an intersectional lens, exploring how it interacts with other complex inequalities such as gender identity, disability and sexuality.
Our intentions and work will be informed by the insights gathered from staff, and led by the Centre’s internal anti-racism group.
At all levels of our organisation, we will:
- Scrutinise all internal systems and governance structures to ensure that we are not colluding with institutional racism
- Prioritise a focus on anti-racism through our internal anti-racism Group to make sure we don’t fall into complacency
- Include a commitment to equality, diversity and anti-racism within all Centre for Mental Health recruitment practices
- Improve diversity within our organisation and create opportunities for people from racialised communities to thrive in their careers.
- Challenge racism and white supremacy culture whenever we see it, both internally and within our external partnerships and relationships. We will not act as bystanders
- Take responsibility for our learning about the impact of all forms of racism, including religiously motivated hatred: we believe it is our individual and collective responsibility to learn and act
- Build on our existing research to fight for racial equality, ensuring that issues of racial equality and justice are embedded across all our work
- Use appropriate and respectful language and terminology when describing racialised people
- Support people who have been impacted by racism in our organisation and in our partner organisations, providing a safe space for sharing their concerns and taking them seriously
- Speak out publicly about racism and inequality, speaking truth to power and creating opportunities to centre the voices of people from racialised communities.
- Ensure we invest and attract funding to enable us to fulfil our anti-racism commitments
- A commitment to equality, diversity and anti-racism will be will be embedded into our organisational strategy, as well as every role at Centre for Mental Health (including those of trustees and volunteers).
- We will be held accountable through the anti-racism group
- We will complete an annual review measuring performance against our anti-racism commitment and commitment to equality. We will seek an independent oversight mechanism for this
- We will continue to engage with ACEVO’s diversity principles
- The CEO will lead this work and report to the Board of Trustees, reviewing the progress on our objectives.
- We will be brave. We will not shy away from difficult conversations and the wellbeing of people from racialised communities will be our priority when doing so
- We will be transparent
- We will respect and support each other to learn from our past and present mistakes, creating a positive learning environment
- We will be allies in our work and personal lives.
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