Spotlight on Southwark Independent Advisory Group (IAG)
The Southwark IAG work to improve SLaM's access, experience and outcomes for people from Southwark's African, African Caribbean and other minority ethnic communities.
After the tragic death in police custody during a mental health crisis of Sean Rigg in 2008, the Rigg family and current Vice-Chair of England's Mental Health Taskforce Jacqui Dyer, developed Lambeth's Black Thrive.
Jacqui went on to fulfil her vision for each of the four boroughs to which SLaM delivers services to convene an independent group to advise South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) on how it can correct the overrepresentation of African and African Caribbean patients across its services.
In February 2018, SLaM invited Healthwatch Southwark to identify Southwark residents and/or organisations which support local people who have an interest and/or specialism in Southwark's Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and mental health to consider convening a Southwark Independent Advisory Group (IAG).
The Southwark IAG would contribute ideas to improve mental health outcomes, access and experience of BAME communities in Southwark. Ola Olive Olaturoti and Tutiette Thomas among others accepted that invitation and agreed to be co-chairs of the Southwark IAG. They have been volunteering on the IAG together since spring 2018.
Ola-olive is the CEO of LOVO (Ladies of virtue outreach CIC), an organisation working on the grassroot level, to tackle social and mental health issues affecting women & girls. She is a strong mental health advocate especially for young women, having experienced mental health challenges herself as a teenager and overcame them.
Ola is also keen on addressing the subject of spirituality and mental health to promote a holistic approach to mental health care , considering that most Africans and African - Caribbeans have strong spiritual beliefs.
Tutiette became an elected SLaM service user governor in July 2018. She is passionate about the implementation of the seminal work of Dr Elaine Arnold on the the trauma of broken attachments through migration and her organisation Supporting Relationships and Families.
"You know Southwark has the largest African diaspora than any other local authority in the country, so Southwark has a unique opportunity to do something very powerful to improve mental health outcomes for its African and African Caribbean communities."
Led by the data published by the Government's Race Disparity Unit since 2017 and SLaM's own ethnicity information for Southwark, indicating African and African Caribbean ethnicities experience the worst outcomes when mental health services are delivered, the Southwark IAG has partnered with SLaM's Dr Louisa Codjoe and Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Joint Mental Health commissioners Stacy Dangre and Karen Clarke to improve SLaM services for Southwark's African and African Caribbean communities.
The Southwark IAG membership include Southwark cooperative leader Akua Ofosuhene of Peckham's Hub+Culture and Moringa farmer and business owner Femi Aseru of Life of a Tree. Southwark IAG members Akua and Femi both share Ola and Tutiette's passion to ensure SLaM address inequalities according to ethnicity. "We are seeking to grow the Southwark IAG membership".
If you are interested in finding out more information, or becoming a member please email: email@example.com