New initiatives are helping young people enter the conversation – but there’s still stigma around accessing services

‘If you don’t deal with the mental health of young people, the cost to the community is disastrous, never mind the public purse,” says Jacqui Dyer, chair of Black Thrive and vice-chair of the England Mental Health Task Force. Black Thrive, based in Lambeth, south London, aims to tackle the systemic issues behind poor mental health outcomes in black communities.

“We’re working with the local authority, schools and mental health [workers] to improve services – and the voice of children and young people will be central,” says Dyer. “Part of how mental health services have to change is to listen to what communities are saying in order to respond better when young black people show up in a crisis or require early intervention.”

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".