Culturally Appropriate Peer Support & Advocacy Service official launch

Last month Black Thrive Lambeth launched their highly anticipated Culturally Appropriate Peer Support & Advocacy (CAPSA) service that aims to improve the mental wellbeing and recovery journeys of Black communities in Lambeth. The service comes into being after over a year of planning and working with the community to co-produce the Lambeth Living Well Network Alliance’s new offering in culturally appropriate care.

Photo of two people shaking hands taken from the CAPSA launch event

CAPSA will include peer support workers that will be delivering one-to-one and group support to Lambeth residents in the community and inpatient settings. The Peer Support Workers that Black Thrive have recruited are people with lived experience of mental health and a key element of their role is to ensure that Black service users and their families feel supported and empowered when using services; building trust in the system. CAPSA advocates will also be trained to work alongside community members and service users to advocate on their behalf to ensure their views, wishes and needs are taken into account.

Dr Shola Apena Rogers, Programme & Partnerships Manager of Adult Mental Health at Black Thrive, said: “Community is at the heart of the CAPSA service. It was co-designed and provides a collaborative space where professional expertise and lived experience are valued equally. The intention is for everyone involved to feel empowered and able to bring their whole self to the discussions.”

Sabrina Phillips, Director for the Living Well Network Alliance said: “Our intention was to design a service that acknowledges the impact of anti-Black racism on our wellbeing, looking also at how structural inequality can negatively impact our physical and mental health. By using consistent feedback from our trusted partners and amplifying the voice of the community, CAPSA seeks to provide support that will enable Black communities in Lambeth to flourish.”

The launch event itself mirrored the culturally appropriate style in which the service has been designed throughout, beginning with comical opinion splitting cultural debates that had attendees engaged immediately voting on topics related to popular food, music and historical icon preferences. Leading shortly after into the CAPSA journey from inception through development and finishing with the clear service outline and intentions.

In attendance were various groups including service commissioners, leaders, and staff coming together with community allies and service users. A large part of the event was discussion based, which meant that each of these groups of trusted partners fed back, ways in which CAPSA can make meaningful and long-lasting change.

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