Black Mental Health UK launches Top 30 list

Wednesday, 02 January 2013


Top 30 list spolights leading lights working in this sector

Top_30Human rights campaigns group Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK) has launched its Top 30 List of the leading lights working in this sector for 2012.


A must read for anyone working in this sector, as well as for those with an interest in civil liberties and social justice, this year's listing showcases the top individuals and agencies that have done outstanding work in the arena of ethnicity and mental health in the past 12 months.


The work of BMH UK has ensured that concerns over the often unequal treatment and care of people from the UK's African Caribbean communities, who come in contact with mental health services, continues to remain on the health and social care agenda.


High profile tragic preventable deaths of black men in the mental health system

BMH UK believe the numbers of high profile tragic deaths of black men who have come in contact with mental health services, in recent years, is evidence of the widespread reform that is needed, in the way statutory services treat people from this community.

Kingsleys_Brother_in_Law_and_Sister_in_Law_-_Matilda_MacAttram_-_BMH_UK_by_David_Merry_UFFC_March_2012BMH UK's Top 30 List for 2012 spotlights many unsung agencies, families, individual and politicians who are working to bring about a positive change in this arena.

From grass roots activist to senior government figures, BMH UK's Top 30 List for 2012 shines a spotlight on the work that many people throughout this year have done to bring about positive change in this sector.

Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said: 'This is the second year we have published BMH UK's Top 30 List, which showcases the many unsung heroes, who often at great personal expense, are making a positive impact in an arena where even the most basic human rights of many vulnerable people are often overridden with tragic consequences.'

'While the resistance by vested interests in this sector can make this a challenging arena to work in, the outstanding achievements of those who have made BMH UK's Top 30 List for 2012 serves as an inspiration of what is being achieved by the most dedicated and inspiring professionals and activists across this sector.
We want people to read this list and be inspired to achieve even more in 2013.'

Read BMH UK's Top 30 List for 2012 here:

Politics and public policy

Herman_Ouseley_-_Lord_1. Lord Herman Ouseley - the most senior political figure from the community, the only member in the House of Lords to speak out on the need to continue to publish the ethnic data on detentions under the Mental Health Act. He has also brought to ministerial attention mental health hospitals calling fully armed TSG (Territorial Support Group) riot police onto psychiatric wards.

2. Norman Lamb MP - Minister of State for Health - the only minister of state responsible for mental health who has given time in his diary for a private meeting with Black Mental Health UK. His endorsement of the latest edition of BMH UK's The Solution heralds a new season of hope that the concerns of people from the UK's African Caribbean communities that come in contact with the services will receive the attention and reforms that are required.

3. Matilda MacAttram - Black Mental Health UK, heads up the only agency that has consistently lobbied and campaigned for positive change at both the most senior levels of government and at the grass roots level in the community, for positive change in the way black people who come in contact with mental health service are treated.

4. Lesley Thomas - Barrister - unassuming, unsung hero from the community has for many years fought tirelessly in law courts across the country for justice for many families of deceased mental health service users. Voted lawyer of the year by his peers in August, this legal genius' skill in the court room brought victory for the Rigg family 2012.

5. Dr Dele Olajide – consultant psychiatrist and stalwart support of BMH UK's work, Olajide has a track record for his tireless work on the frontline to ensuring practical improvements in the treatment and care of black patients he sees on a daily basis who are locked up in this system.


Kedisha_Burrell_Brown_-_OS_Birmingham_sullihull_mht_20126. Charlie Williams, Birmingham Strong Justice For All - stalwart supporter of the work of BMH UK, the commitment and drive Williams has shown in addressing the injustices facing the community in this arena and beyond have been of unparalleled benefit to BMH UK an many other agencies within the community in 2012.

7. Kedisha Burrell and family – the dignity and unerring determination with which the Burrell family continue to campaign for justice for Kingsley Burrell-Brown in the face of almost insurmountable odds, has placed her firmly in the category of unsung hero.

8. Sam Rigg David & Marcia Rigg and family - Sean Rigg Justice and Change, securing an inquest verdict for the death of their brother at the hands of the Met police, while he was under the care of South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLAM), has again put the spotlight on the consistent inequalities and treatment faced by black service users.

9. Sheila & Rupert Sylvester, Roger's parents, and Bernard Roderick, his brother – Roger Sylvester Justice Campaign – campaigning for justice since 1999, the Sylvester family have been a voice for service users who have lost their lives at the hands of the police for over 13 years.

10. Tippa Naptali and family  – UFFC ( United Friends and Families Campaign), an unsung hero who has campaigned fearlessly in the face of injustice since the tragic death of his cousin Mikey Powell at the hand of the police, while in urgent mental health care in 2003.

11. Merlin Emmanuel and family, Campaign for Justice – Emmanuel has consistently given a platform to the work of BMH UK through Sounds Of Urban London (S.O.U.L) radio throughout 2012 while using this new digital platform to transform the consciousness of the community.


Kurt_Barling_BBC12. Trudy Simpson - The Voice Newspaper- BMH UK have benefited from the consistent support of the UK's leading black Newspaper, who have shown that they care as deeply about the issues in this arena as BMH UK do.

13. Kurt Barling - BBC – fearless, hardnosed journalist, his unbroken track record of covering some of the most difficult issues of mental health and the UK's African Caribbean communities, has given one of Briton's most voiceless groups a means that ensures their message has reached out across the nation.

14. Helen Bart - BBC – constant support and widespread coverage has enabled BMH UK to get key message out across London's capital and regions across the UK everywhere black radio programmes are broadcast. .

15. Colleen Harris - BBC – has shown a commitment positively covering the issue of mental health as it affect black Britons with a sensitivity not often portrayed by mainstream media

16. Dotun Adebayo - BBC – a constant source of encouragement, he has proved to be a stalwart supporter of the work of BMH UK in 2012.

17. Stephen Ogongo - Africa News – one of the most prolific journalist of our age, Ongongo's support and constant coverage of this issue demonstrates a perfect collaboration of black media and has ensures BMH UK's message has extended to the Diaspora across Europe.

18. Henry Bonsu - Vox Africa - bringing the issues Black Mental Health UK have campaigned on to audience across the Diaspora in Europe and on the continent of Africa in his uniquely intelligent way.

19. Lenny T - BBC 3 Counties Radio – with as skill of mixing hard hitting issues with light entertainment, Lenny has brought BMH UK's work to audience outside London with a commitment and consistency for which we are truly grateful.

20. Amina Taylor - Press TV – prolific journalist with a heart for justice, Taylors work has ensured that BMH UK's message has consistently come to the attention of international audiences.

21. Omowale Kwaw and Olatunji Heru - Voice of Africa Radio, these radio presenter's commitment to serve the community also comes with an understanding of the importance of BMH UK work, which has ensured consistent coverage of BMH UK's key messages over the airwaves in 2012.

Service users

Jeremy_Grant_22. Angella Corrina, poet and musician - sharing the journey of recovery through the poetry in BMH UK's The Solution magazine has been an inspiration to all who has read her work.

23. Jeremy Grant, writer and poet - his creative genius has conveyed through poetry the disturbing challenges young men of this generation who have been detained under the Mental Health Act face.


24. Archdeacon Daniel Kajumba, CMEAC (Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns) – his support has enabled BMH UK take our concerns to the most senior members of the Church of England who would not otherwise be aware of this issue.

25. Bishop Llewellyn Grayham, New Testament Church of God - a constant advocate for the work of BMH UK, he has used his platform in the church to mainstream an issue in the community and offers the perfect model for other churches to follow.

26. Dr Rev McCarty, Church of England – opening doors within this institution has enabled BMH UK to educate and inform clergy on the frontline about BMH UKs work.

Unions & Community

Alicia_Spence_-_services_director_ACCI_201127. Alicia Spence, ACCI (African Caribbean Community Initiative) - the bedrock of the UK's oldest surviving black led, community based mental health service, her work with a team of exemplary professionals is a model of excellence that sets the bar for how people who use mental health services can and should be treated.

28. Barbara Lewis, Amaani Tallawah - the second oldest surviving community based service in the country. The life saving work of this agency and brought dignity and shelter to many that statutory agencies have written off.

29. Aaron Kiely, NUS Black Students – the backing of one of the country's largest black union has enabled BMH UK to widen our reach by over a million people through the NUS black students campaign.

30. Simon Wolley & Francine Fernandez , OBV (Operation Black Vote) - still thriving at a time of adversity, their ongoing commitment to supporting the work of BMH UK has been unparalleled.

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