Last week, the Barnet Wellbeing Service hosted its quarterly Hub Connections event, bringing together community members, healthcare professionals, and inspiring speakers to discuss how the new NHS England Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework (PCREF) is reshaping mental health care.

PCREF marks NHS England’s first ever anti-racism framework, designed for mental health service providers throughout England. It is a framework to show how services are treating people equally based on their ethnicity. It is a fantastic tool to work with communities to understand their needs and decide what can be done to reduce racial and cultural discrimination. It also allows people in the community to help make improvements in mental health services.

A highlight of the event was engaging with key figures driving the implementation of PCREF, including insights from Jordelle Akinola, Community Engagement Lead (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) for Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

During our conversation, Jordelle emphasised the importance of community involvement in PCREF’s implementation and ongoing development. She stressed the need for diverse representation from service users and carers, highlighting gaps in gender identity and military backgrounds.

In her words, ‘we’re always looking for people and I think we’re really struggling at the moment for people with different gender identities and that intersectionality because nobody wears one hat.’

Jordelle expressed a commitment to reaching out to local forums and communities, recognising the significance of meeting people where they are rather than expecting them to come to them.

‘Part of my role is … going to those forums because people tell us ‘we don’t always want to come to you’. There’s an expectation but you know we’re the authority, people look up to us. You have to go to people.’

However, she encouraged individuals to connect directly with her and assured accessibility through various communication channels, including a new PCREF website and newsletter which are coming soon.

As PCREF continues to evolve, the insights shared at the Hub Connections event underscore the pivotal role of community engagement in shaping mental health equity initiatives.

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