Black History Month Post

Black History Month Post

Following the death of George Floyd in 2020 and the subsequent Black Lives Matter Movement, IPS Grow started to reach out to gauge the response in our IPS communities. A question was posed on our shared information platform which was the start of many conversations and lots of learning.  

We created dedicated Communities of Practice events to allow staff to reflect on the issue and to start thinking about ways to change our approach. Since that time, we have had events in all UK regions including reflecting on the topic and thinking about our growing workforce and the importance of reflecting on our local communities to build diverse services.  

From this initial impetus, working groups were formed in the North and South of England which brought together individual volunteers passionate to address the issues at hand.    

In the North of England, workshops were developed and facilitated that reached a total of 170 people within IPS services on the following topics:  

  • The Equality Act 
  • Unconscious Bias 
  • Use of Language 
  • White privilege 
  • Feeling uncomfortable discussing racial equality  
  • Conversations about race with IPS clients 

Some feedback about what was most impactful included: 

The encouragement to all be open, honest without judgement. That we were encouraged to feel that it was a safe space. I really liked that the facilitators/people who wrote the slides and content seemed to also be challenging themselves on what should be included. That has prompted me to think, consider and challenge myself and others more. To be open to change

Hearing people talk about privilege was thought provoking (…) The clips shown were well suited and really got you thinking. This session should be delivered to NHS Trusts across all the country! Well done!

We really encourage you to check out the resources on the IPS Grow collaboration platform and use them to support conversations and training in your service. 

The South of England alongside IPS Grow colleagues pulled together a plan to share guidance and advice to IPS services on a range of issues. Changes that have been made to date include Making local demographic information immediately accessible in our IPS reporting tool, updating our vocational profile to include cultural explorative questions, adding suggested questions for client surveys to our standard KPI document and creation of a shared space on our FutureNHS Platform to capture forum discussions, resources and research.  

Over time, we are committed to keeping this on our agenda and reviewing what we produce and share with services through the lens of anti-racist practice and always encouraging continued exploration of the subject. 

The most important tool that we have to drive quality of service delivery is IPS fidelity reviews. An immediate change that we made in 2020 was to add in questions about racial equity as a standard part of our review process and we are currently working on recommendations around data analysis, cultural awareness and how to embed race equity into our everyday working practices. 

To date, there has been relatively little research on IPS specifically focussing on race and diversity issues so some quick findings were sought from two experienced London Services which crucially confirm that IPS, with its focus on the individual, can act as a race equity initiative in Mental Health services. 

We know that, in mental health services, we already work in a space where we support a high number of people from minority ethnic communities. This alongside the impact of Covid which also disproportionately impacted people of colour, means that we must address this subject head-on.  Where conversations may be uncomfortable, it is not a reason not to have them!  

Most importantly, none of us are experts in all of this – we only bring our personal perspectives. What is important is that we all engage with this so that all clients receive a cultural appropriate service from all IPS practitioners. If we remain open and curious to understand the perspective and experience of others, we can fully be a part of their journey to work and social inclusion.