Friday 15th July 2022
On Saturday 9th July 2022, the Croydon BME Forum, in partnership with Maudsley Charity Trust, Off The Record, and the Wandsworth Community Empower Network (WCEN), hosted the first Young Minds Matter Youth Conference in Croydon, South London.
With the purpose of breaking down the stigma attached to mental health in young people, the conference was a collection of workshops, information stalls, and motivational speeches designed to empower and inspire young people to face their mental health issues. With 60 young people in attendance, this was a resounding success.
The conference was supported by a number of local organisations who dedicated their time on a Saturday to helping young people. In attendance and with an information stand were the Metropolitan Police, Off The Record, Black Minds Matter, and YGAM.
We express our heartfelt thanks to the Civic Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Alisa Flemming for her participation and support.
A special mention needs to be made of Dr. Ahmed Hankir who captivated the young people with the story of his personal journey from the Lebanon, to working and studying 80-hour weeks while in med school, through his own mental health battles, culminating in achieving his dream and becoming a medical professional. The only interruptions he faced during his speech were occasional bouts of applause as the young people listened in awe. On completion, Dr. Hankir was given a standing ovation.
Praise also needs to be offered to the 25+ young people who volunteered their time to be a part of the Young Minds Matter steering group, who worked tirelessly for three months while also attending school/college and sitting exams, to ensure this event went ahead.
To summarise, this was an event for young people, created and implemented by young people, which tackled a very important subject. Here’s hoping it is the first of many.