Voices of Culture

Listening to the diverse voices of young people from ethnic minorities in relation to their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Merseyside Youth Association worked with Amina Atiq, local Yemeni-scouse writer and activist to deliver engaging art projects that celebrate diversity relating to mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The aims of Voices of Culture were to:

  • Celebrate identity, belonging and diversity.
  • Improve access to CAMHS partners and build quality of relationships between providers and young people.
  • Supporting cultural competence
  • Tackle mental health stigma and building resilience

Throughout the four-week programme, the young people explored the themes of mental health, their Arab/mixed identities and resilience.

As well as gaining an understanding of the significance around mental health, they developed their own poetic voice to tell their own stories inspired by their lived experiences, memory and sense of belonging.

Their written work was drafted, recorded and was installed into a Sound Aloud soundscape to tell a moving and inspiring collective story, both in English and Arabic.

Thanks to the young people who took part:

  • Razen Al-Hamad, 19
  • Amirah Ali, 11
  • Bilal Alasaly, 15
  • Nuha Abdullah, 15
  • Nadeen Abdullah, 13

Credit: Brian Roberts (Sound engineer)


According to a report by the Race Equality Foundation, exploring the persistent racial disparities in mental health, black and minority ethnic people experience a wide number of inequalities related to mental health.

The evidence in this report suggests that black and minority ethnic communities are at comparatively higher risk of mental ill-health, and disproportionately impacted by social detriments associated with mental ill-health. From accessing treatment to receiving mental health support, through to assessment and treatment, inequality and discrimination remain rife for black and minority ethnic communities.

As the Mental Health Foundation found, people from black, Asian and ethnic minorities communities can experience racism in their personal lives, ranging from casual slights to explicit hurtful comments and verbal or physical aggression.

  • Research suggests that experiencing racism can be very stressful and have a negative effect on overall health and mental health*.
  • There is a growing body of research to suggest that those exposed to racism may be more likely to experience mental health problems such as psychosis and depression.*


Advancing mental health equalities strategy

This strategy summarises the core actions that we all need to take to bridge the gaps for communities fairing worse than others in mental health services



If you are affected by any of the issues raised here, you can get support from our partners


Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people.


A wide range of support and therapeutic interventions to address the mental health and emotional well-being difficulties of children, young people, parents/carers and families.

Talk Liverpool 

Free NHS service offering psychological therapies to adults in Liverpool who are feeling depressed or anxious.

Alder Hey Fresh CAMHS

Liverpool FRESH CAMHS is a service for children/young people (aged 0-18) and their families/carers who are struggling with how they are feeling, thinking or the way they are doing things.



Williams D.R. (2018) Stress and the Mental Health of Populations of Color: Advancing Our Understanding of Race-related Stressors. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 59(4), 466-485.

Gibbons F.X., O’Hara R.E., Stock M.L., et al. (2012) The erosive effects of racism: reduced self-control mediates the relation between perceived racial discrimination and substance use in African American adolescents. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology102(5), 1089-104.

Williams D.R. & Williams-Morris R. (2000) Racism and mental health: the African American experience. Ethnicity & Health, 5(3-4), 243-68.

Bhui K., Nazroo J., Francis J. et al. (2018) The impact of racism on mental health. Available at: https://synergicollaborativecentre.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/The-impact-of-racism-on-mental-health-briefing-paper-1.pdf [Accessed 18/06/19]

Wallace S., Nazroo J. & Becares, L. (2016) Cumulative Effect of Racial Discrimination on the Mental Health of Ethnic Minorities in the United Kingdom. American Journal of Public Health 106(7), 1294-300.