BMMUK is an initiative created last year that provides safe therapeutic spaces for Black people of colour (BPOC) and offers essential mental health support from therapists who better understand their lived experiences and traumas.

Agnes Mwakatuma, the co-founder of BMMUK, explained that currently, BPOC routinely experience discrimination in secondary NHS mental health services: “Which has sadly led to a distrust in health services amongst the BPOC community. Missed and incorrect diagnosis and harsher treatment are all common experiences faced by BPOC, which can be very traumatic to the individual.”

Join the #BMMUK21K challenge

BMMUK, since its launch in June 2020, has funded 1200 courses of therapy; however, the waiting list is in desperate need of extra funding, with another 2600 people already signed up, requesting BMMUK's support. So, BMMUK aims to secure 21,000 long-term donors, willing to donate £5 a month to help fund a minimum of 1500 extra courses of therapy per year.

As well as the option to contribute £5 per month, there is also an opinion to make a one-time payment. And people can further get involved with the campaign through Twitter by sharing five tips that improved their mental health throughout the pandemic, shared through the #BMMUK21K hashtag.

Ms Mwakatuma commented that a therapist who understands your lived experience is essential in easing the distress and trauma that racism and discrimination can leave behind, she said: “Therapy, with a therapist who understands your lived experience is really key when looking to alleviate the impact of racism.”

“Racism and discrimination in itself are a traumatic experience which leads to higher rates of stress, anxiety and depression amongst those who encounter it. It's also very detrimental to one's sense of self and overall esteem, which over time means the individual often lacks ownership or can't feel safe in their own body.”

The pervasiveness of racism in the UK was reflected in a BMMUK survey launched in the weeks leading up to the 21-week fundraising campaign. The survey found 61% of the 1000 participants experience racism or microaggressions every month, and 21% have those experiences every week. Which BMMUK said proved that there is much more that needs to be accomplished in addressing racism in the UK and in understanding the traumatic impact of racism on mental health.