Home > News & events > Interview: Talking to IRIE Mind’s Nichola Lauder and Trevor Knight about their mission, and mental health in Black, African and Caribbean communities.
What is IRIE Mind’s mission?

In a nutshell, the aim of the IRIE Mind project is to champion black mental health and provide community-based solutions to mental illness. The project itself is Black led to reflect the culture and “know how” of the individuals we will be working with.  There will be a strong emphasis on ensuring that the methods used reach the needs of the black community.

At IRIE Mind we have a strong mission to promote and champion positive mental health in the Black, African and Caribbean Communities. By means of our motto “To Boldly go Where No one has gone before” and to work closely with our Clients, the Residents and key people in the Community to deliver community based solutions that are culturally specific.

Our overall aim as an organisation working alongside the Black, African and Caribbean Communities is to:

  1. Increase Awareness of factors that contribute to mental ill health in the Black, African and Caribbean Communities
  2. Create greater Access to culturally specific and good quality interventions/services that propel us into Action.

This is known as the IRIE Mind triple-A approach.

How does IRIE Mind fit into the broader Mind Network?

A culturally pertinent service designed to support the mental health exigency of the Black African and Caribbean community were the cultural element is often not considered in within mental health. The service works to redress these concerns within the community by Inclusion Respect Integration Empowerment (I.R.I.E).

What’s the best thing about working for IRIE Mind?

The wonderful clients, sense of family and belonging that our team and clients are able to share in a professional environment.

One of the best things about working for IRIE Mind is being in a position of privilege where we can humbly and passionately serve a community of people who are currently under-served and or inappropriately served not just in East London but across the country. Something we take great enjoyment and pride in.

As one of our clients put it: “ As a people we have been miseducated, misrepresented and disempowered and due to this the Black community can be “hard to reach” (a term we dislike) because of lack of trust and acceptance.

IRIE Mind helps Black people reconnect with themselves and the Community with ONE VOICE, so that we can come together and offer support to Build Trust, Relationships and Self-Confidence.

We want to give the Black Community a positive experience that gives them back control. As the iconic Black Reggae Artist Dennis Brown said “No Man is an Island”, so with ONE VOICE we can stand together for Black, African and Caribbean Mental Health.“

What can be done to support IRIE Mind?

As with every charity sector service resources and support from all areas of the community and society to deliver an outstanding high quality service to our clients.

As a small Grassroots service we relish the opportunity and challenge to aspire to bigger and better things within the Black, African Community hence building individual and organisational capacity in extending our reach across the sector is key to developing a thriving Organisation.

Volunteers are an integral part of the running of our service. IRIE Mind is a Family and volunteers will be joining this family unit and adding to the success of the Organisation. The support of volunteers is invaluable to us in helping us support the Mental Health of the Black people in our Community.

Subsequently in order to keep this crucial work going within the Black, African and Caribbean Communities we rely on different sources of income/seeds to help germinate and allow us to more fruitful not just for yesterday or today but for the future.

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