‘Community Responses to Mental Health’ is one of the four workstreams that make up Synergi. We will be working initially with groups and collectives we funded through our first Grants Programme.

We want to better understand grassroots work that happens at the intersection of racial justice and mental health across England, and how we can support it.

We will be building relationships with some of the grassroots organisations centring lived experience, community leadership and activism within this area of mental health and racial justice. We want to share resources, build sustainability in our communities, and showcase the diversity of people doing this type of community organising.

Some of our plans include holding free workshops to support community organisers, in partnership with other organisations; to publish blogs showcasing some of this work; and to run some in person events.

We also want to bring light to the idea of building as abolition. Abolition comes from both hope and pragmatism: the reimagining of alternatives allows us to see another way forward. Punitive, violent or oppressive systems cannot (and perhaps should not) always be reformed, but reform might not even feel possible if we cannot imagine another way.

The type of ecosystem we want to establish through Synergi is one that can challenge and influence systems, to create new ways of supporting the mental health needs of our communities.