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After seeing the massive mental health impact the coronavirus had on Black British people and the police brutality in the US two friends from Bristol decided they had to act.
Agnes Mwakatuma, 26, and Annie Nash, 29, launched the Black Minds Matter campaign on June 1, a week after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. Their aim was to raise money – and awareness – to provide 12-week-long rounds of therapy for some Black people in the UK struggling with their mental health.
Agnes said: “We decided to set the page up because people are expressing a lot of trauma – the issue with George Floyd has been deeply triggering in our community.
“I felt we needed qualified, black therapists that can deal who black trauma which could be accessed freely.
“Cost is a massive barrier and the waiting times through the NHS are growing.”
Agnes said that black people experienced racism, discrimination and micro-aggressions, adding she had experienced these as a black woman as well as seeing it happen to people around her.
She also gave the example of people touching her hair and calling her names when she was an 11-year-old student in school, after her family moved to a predominantly-white small town in Devon from Tanzania.
“I have seen people’s mental health deteriorate around me and I could not just sit back and do nothing,” the campaign co-founder continued.
“I am hoping it will create a safe space for people to speak – the black community has been affected by this and it has opened up wounds that people didn’t even know existed.
“It has made us demand for better, more equal rights and it is encouraging people to speak up.
“It has opened a conversation between white and black people – change can’t happen until every part of society actively fights racism.”
They need not worry though as the response has been overwhelming and within three days they raised enough funding for 24 rounds and as we speak they have smashed their initial goal of £400,000 and have enough to help fund 12 weeks f therapy for over 720 black people from the UK , the only problem is they have requests from over 1,000 people wishing to access this support. To support Black Minds Matter visit their fund raising page or for more information visit their website