We’re helping the mental health charity Young Minds overhaul their services to appeal beyond their core demographic of middle class white females.
We helped Young Minds understand the work as one of many small steps they would need to take to become truly anti-racist, rather than a single “fix everything” project. Having agreed this, we decided to focus our research on the perspectives of young black men.
We used bottom-up community recruitment to find the participants most in need without appearing performative, using Young Minds’ existing corporate partnerships and our own networks as a starting point, paying people fairly.
We used several novel co-design methods to expand our reach and accessibility: small WhatsApp group chats were used to collect thoughts from groups of friends and conduct self-paced prototyping activities. We followed up with several small, short and remote co-design sessions to remove the intimidation factor of large, heavily facilitated workshops.
Among other things, we found that people felt Young Minds’ approach to mental health to be decontextualised and individualised: lacking an appreciation of the social context that is vital to the experience of marginalised people. Institutional distrust was also found to be a barrier.
We’re now working with Young Minds’ CEO and trustees to build the findings into their new brand and service offering, and keep the work going.