Executive summary

“Being Black affects my mental health as there is a lot more pressure on me to not be like the stereotypical Black boy, like being seen to have a bad attitude. But then there’s pressure by social media to fit in because that’s what young people do. I want to just be me. And sometimes not doing what others want you to do can affect your mental health… There is a lot of pressure on Black boys, they are always being spoken about [negatively] and I think this can affect our mental health.” – (Black, male, age 15)

In 2022 and early 2023, the Children and Young People’s Mental Health team at Transformation Partners in Health and Care worked with Black Thrive Lambeth; Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing, and Hounslow Mind; Partnership for Young London; Taraki; and Thrive LDN listened to the voices of young Londoners aged 12 to 25 who identify as Asian, Black, or Latin American for this Listening Project. This was to gain insight into their views about mental health and the services that are available to them. More than half – 54% – of those who shared their views with the Listening Project were aged 18 to 25. The others were younger.

The Listening Project explored:

  • What factors contribute to young people from Black, Asian, Latin American and other racially minioritised communities being under-represented in community mental health settings?
  • What are the experiences of young people in mental health service provision?
  • What are young people’s beliefs and attitudes towards mental health support?
  • How are health inequalities experienced by young people in London?

Our research highlighted that young people’s racialised identities played an important role in shaping their lived experience of mental wellbeing, access to and experience of mental health services, and health outcomes. The project also surfaced   more nuanced insights into the issues facing them.

Throughout the report we have aimed to place the voices of young people at the centre.

It also has examples of good practice to inspire individuals and organisations to work in partnership with young people to create ways to support their social and emotional wellbeing.

The insights that young people shared with the Listening Project can support systems to better use their power and influence to prevent the onset of mental health challenges and reduce health inequalities for children and young people. This will contribute to making London a city where all are supported to thrive and to reach their full potential.

The key question for us all is: “What are we going to do differently to ensure that the ambitions of the young people who took part in this listening exercise, and many others like them, become a reality?”