Professor Joanna Bennett
Activist and Mental Health expert Prof. Joanna Bennett, relentlessy campaigned for justice for her brother David ‘Rocky’ Bennett following his death – leading to the publication of the David ‘Rocky’ Bennett inquiry report in 2005. Worked as a senior lecturer and department lead at the University of the West Indies for several years, before taking up a post as a professor in Birmingham. Joanna is now working as an academic and as a consultant and mental health expert, with particular interest in developing resilience in young people.
Dr. Suman Fernando
Suman was a consultant psychiatrist in the British National Health Service for over twenty years until the mid-1990s.. Since then, Suman has been an academic, a lecturer, a writer and an advisor on mental health practice and service provision. Suman was a member of the Mental Health Act Commission – a government inspectorate with some teeth at the time – until 1995, chairing its National Standing Committee on Race and Culture. He is involved in voluntary organisations (NGOs) providing mental health services in UK for people from minority ethnic & ‘racialised’ groups such as asylum seekers in the UK and also an NGO in Sri Lanka. Suman is an honorary professor and refused an OBE as a protest that the mental health bill then going through parliament would not address the disproportionate rate of compulsory admissions of Black people.
Psychologist and Manager of the Oremi Centre and Hestia: Integrated Mental Health Service
A mental health expert, specialising in African Psychology, Malcolm has developed different models of mental health care to help better meet the needs of African and Caribbean groups. Malcolm current manages the Oremi Centre, amongst others, which is a centre focused on supporting individuals of African or Caribbean descent, and Arabic speaking individuals, when they are in the community.
Guilaine is an (aspiring) intersectional feminist, a therapist (working integratively) an equality enthusiast and a writer. She is currently working toward a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Before this, she completed a degree in Cultural Studies, and studied Psychology then Counseling Psychology after obtaining a Masters in Transcultural Mental Health. Professionally, she has worked with some of the most marginalised groups within inner city London and Paris. She is naturally drawn to community/critical psychology and liberatory approaches to clinical practice as she find them more socially and politically engaged and more epistemologically consistent with her worldview. However she does find relational and psychoanalytical concepts useful to make sense of the world and she is equally interested in compassion based models.
Malia is the President of the National Union of Students. She took up the post in July 2016 on a platform of free and liberated education. Malia’s current priority campaign is #Liber8Education which has a number of strands, including better mental health and liberating the curriculum.
A graduate from UCL, Vanessa has worked with people with mental health difficulties in the UK and Hong Kong. Vanessa has a keen interest in minorities mental health and is currently a committee member of the Minorities in Clinical Psychology training in the BPS DCP Pre-qualification group.
Jacq Applebee is a black, nonbinary, disabled bisexual. They co-founded Bi’s of Colour, and have been involved with bisexual and racial activism for over a decade. Jacq is a writer, poet and zinester. Their work includes a zine of vegan recipes and erotic fiction, and a zine about biphobia featuring bisexual robots.
Otamere Guobadia is a law finalist at University College, Oxford. Activist, former editor of Oxford based queer and trans publication, No HeterOx and President of the Oxford University LGBTQ society.
Kelechi is a dedicated activist and committee member of the NUS Black Students’ (LGBT place) and NUS Disabled Students’ Campaigns. She is currently fighting for asylum to remain in the country, having faced physical, sexual and emotional abuse in her country of origin, Nigeria. This was in part a result of her mental health difficulties, which led those around her to believe she is cursed – as well as her physical limitations (she is a wheelchair user due to Polio).
Dr. Ayesha Ahmad
Ayesha is a lecturer at St Georges University of London in Medical Ethics and Law, and an honorary lecturer at the Institute for Global Health, UCL, as well as a public speaker and consultant. She specializes in culture and gender based violence in conflict and humanitarian mental health responses and has a PhD in Medical Ethics. @AcademicAyesha
IGGYLDN created BBDC (Black Boys Don’t Cry), a project designed to deconstruct the ideals of black masculinity and manhood in the 21st century. BBDC is led by three creative mediums (spoken word, videography and photography) in order to bring to light the challenges that young black men face in today’s society.
@IGGYLDN www.iggyldn.com #BBDC
Leyla is from Inspirited Minds a charity which aims to aid people who suffer from psychological illnesses in a way which ensures that a person’s faith and cultural background is understood. It is used predominantly by people of an Islamic faith but also supports others.
Sarah Nwafor is the founder of Cultured Lens, a platform that seeks to promote the intellectual and creative presence of Black African Diaspora in Britain. Sarah read African Studies at the University of Birmingham, and she currently serves as a committee member in the NUS Black Students’ Campaign. She was previously elected as the NUS Mature and Part-Time Student’s representative 2015/16; and she served on NUS National Executive Council 2015/16.
Sarah is a photographer with a passion for photo-documenting Black British creativity and experience. She has been commissioned by Media Diversified, The Southbank Centre, The African Centre, and the Royal African Society.
Chama Kay (workshop facilitator)
Chama Kay is a mental health blogger, advocate and workshop facilitator, with a focus on men’s mental health and mental health in Black communities. He started writing about his own experiences with depression and Borderline Personality Disorder on his personal blog in 2012. He has since written for Grey Matters UK, Dream Nation, No Fly on the Wall, CAMLZone and he was featured in The Guardian. Chama has also appeared numerous podcasts including Kicking the Kyriarchy and Melanin Millennials.
In 2016 Chama decided it was time to take his campaigning offline, and ran his first workshop for the No Fly on the Wall Academy. He has gone on to run workshops at SOAS for Consented UK and workshops for Cambridge University’s Afro-Caribbean Society and Student Welfare Office.
Susuana Amoah (workshop facilitator)
Susuana Amoah is a feminist activist and Gender and Media Masters Student studying at the University of Sussex. Previously Susuana was the NUS National Women’s Officer, University of London Union Women’s officer and feminism society president at Royal Holloway where she graduated with a degree in Media Arts. During her time as student officer Susuana created the “feeling my self care” workshop for student women to encourage them to take radical stance on self care during their education. Susuana’s activism focuses on intersectional feminism, sexual violence and radical self-care.
Deej Malik Johnson is the BME students officer at Manchester University and a member of the National Union of Students Black Students’ Campaign Committee. A former mental health support worker, Deej has excellent knowledge and understanding of the NHS and it’s mental health systems, and will discuss mental health, and men from the diaspora.
Rachael Black – Artist
Rachael is a London native and multi disciplinary artist whose work focuses on externalising the internal and describing her personal bipolar experience. Rachael trained as an actress and works in theatre, TV, and film. She also paints and performs spoken word as part of her expressive repertoire. She is a vocal advocate for better understanding of mental health issues and frequently works as a communicator to the public in this field, and to this end is working on the preliminary phase of a documentary film to explore the world of mental health, its neurological implications, and management and treatment of various conditions. Rachael lives in Lewisham with her husband, daughter and a cheeky little dog called Ginger.