SACMHA Emancipation Day


Black History Month and Mental Health Week was the focus of SACMHA’s event at Andover street in October.

Sheffield African Caribbean Mental Health Association (SACMHA) understands that there is a strong link between feeling positive about your culture heritage and feeling mentally well.

Fifty residents, workers and service users gathered at Andover Street church. Speeches included an update from the MAAT Probe service user-led group about their campaign to change policy and culture in Sheffield Mental Health services. Those present were inspired by one service user’s personal story of recovery, despite suffering discrimination, he was able to say “I am stronger than the stigma” of mental illness. The audience was also entertained by songs and stories from SADACCA women’s group and Caribbean folk poems and stories from Jackie.

The event concluded with an informative mini lecture from George Ben Anthony who runs a 36 week course in African History and delivers short courses for SACMHA. He said,

“Media coverage of Africa and black people is constantly negative, this can affect mental health. This course teaches people that African heritage is something to be proud of, and this can build people’s confidence. We must never forget the enslavement of African people, but slavery is only a tiny part of the continent’s past. Africa is where civilisation was born, and this is what we should be teaching our children.”

Paul’s story of recovery

The word Stigma means to be marked out as different to everyone else.

My name is Paul, I am going to tell you about my experience of stigma since being diagnosed with a mental illness and what has happened to my life. In 1993 I was 26 years old. I left college and went to work in a food preparation business in Mosborough, there were only a couple of other Black members of staff. At the time I was saving for a deposit on a house and I was in a relationship. Because I was a Rasta I suffered discrimination, in my opinion this was one of the issues that led to me having mental health problems.

It was difficult for me to accept that I had a mental health problem and life was not going to be the same anymore. As soon as people hear that you have been to a mental hospital they presume that you are not going to act sensibly, that is why I sometimes find it difficult to communicate with people. But what happened to me can happen to anyone.

Its difficult to make people understand what happened, because its not like having a cold or breaking your leg. Mental illness shattered my life. I refuse to let stigma hold me back anymore. Two months ago I bought a new car and now I’m going clubbing with my friends again. I feel my confidence is coming back I feel able to form a relationship.

I am stronger than stigma!

Logged in users of the website can add comments to this page.
Login to this site if you'd like to add a comment. Sign-up for an account if you are not currently a member.

<< | Up | >>

Print version

The content on this page was added to the website by Derrick Okrah on 2010-11-27 22:01:43.
The content of the page was last modified by Derrick Okrah on 2010-11-27 22:12:17.

Follow us on Twitter @TheBMessenger

All content is copyright © Burngreave Messenger Ltd. or its voluntary contributors, unless otherwise stated, not to be reproduced without permission. If you have any comments, or are interested in contributing to the Messenger and getting involved, please contact us.

Burngreave Messenger Ltd. Abbeyfield Park House, Abbeyfield Road, Sheffield S4 7AT.
Telephone: 0114 242 0564. Email:
Company Limited by Guarantee: 04642734
Registered Charity: 1130836

The Burngreave Messenger is a community newspaper with editorial independence, funded by the Big Lottery, Foyle Foundation, Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Scurrah Wainwright Charity, local residents and our advertisers.

Help the Messenger with a donation