The London network

Introducing the London network co-ordinator

Hi! My name’s Raza, I’m a mental health service user, and over the next couple of years I want to work with you to  ensure mental health service users in London have the support they need to speak out and influence mental health and wider policies affecting our lives. 

So please tell me about the work you are doing and what support you need to get it done.

As we know, trauma, deprivation, disadvantage and discrimination affects our mental health. We did not become mental health service users in a vacuum. This is not something that the bio medical model is always good at acknowledging, and so a big focus of my work will be to link social justice issues and mental health.

Focus on social justice and racism

A big social justice issue for London in particular, given that the Black and Minority Ethnic communities as a whole are more than half the population of our great city, is racism in society at large and in the mental health system. I will be picking up on this through promoting the Kindred Minds BME mental health service user led Manifesto, which I’ve been working on with BME service users over the last two years.

Kindred Minds BME mental health service user led Manifesto

The Manifesto (currently being finalised) is unique to my knowledge, in being completely BME service user led. It gives recommendations on changing the policies and practices that will improve the mental health of Black and Minority Ethnic mental health service users. We will keep you updated of progress with this.Here is a link to the Kindred Minds facebook page

Black Thrive

I will also be liaising with Black Thrive This initiative aims to carry forward the recommendations of the Lambeth Black Mental Health Commission. Earlier this month, I met Black Thrive’s newly appointed Director, Patrick Vernon, to discuss the possibility of NSUN potentially developing some training and support for BME service users in Lambeth to get involved in this programme, as part of NSUN’s role in supporting service user voice.  

Thrive London

I’ve also had discussions with Thrive London, which is a separate programme for all London’s communities led by the Mayor’s Office. Thrive London aims involve communities more in decision making. I went to the Thrive London discussion event in Southwark earlier in the month. Southwark is being prioritised as a borough because it is recognised to have more of the factors that lead to mental distress. Similar events will be taking place in other prioritised London boroughs .

Critical friends

Whilst NSUN certainly welcomes all initiatives aiming to improve mental health in line with our values, we also believe that they need to be co designed with service users. I will always be listening to service users and asking them if they think a particular initiative is doing this or not: I will always aim to be a ‘critical friend’ to initiatives, rather than simply directing service users to tick boxes for them

I’d love to hear from you [email protected] 


Southwark seeks comments via online survey on its draft mental health strategy…/consultation/intro/

Deadline is 10 September so we urge all Southwark service user residents to get their voice heard through the survey