Mental Health Foundation launches six-point action plan on race and diversity

The Mental Health Foundation today launches a six-point action plan on race and diversity in the organisation, following a six-month review commissioned in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd last year.

The review, which has been accepted in full, made a total of 70 recommendations and commits financial resources to growing diversity across the organisation. It also covers how the Foundation can address racial inequality through its research, policy and community work.

In addition, the review sets targets for 20 per cent of the charity’s Board and leadership team to be from diverse racial backgrounds by 2024. Accountability will lie with the Chief Executive and the Chair of the Board.

The key six-point action plan is as follows:

  • The Chair and Chief Executive will be accountable for driving progress on our approach to race and diversity and will be held to account by the Board.
  • Public targets and regular reporting on diversity. These include having 20% of our Board and 20% of our leadership team from diverse racial backgrounds by 2024, with further diversity targets to be developed.
  • Whole organisation commitments (covering our leadership, programmes, research, policy, fundraising, and communications teams) to addressing racial inequality and making it a thread that runs through our work and identity.
  • The creation of at least four annual paid-for internships, as well as bursaries for professional development and training for colleagues from racialised and minority communities.
  • Investing in a senior post to lead development and implementation of a Diversity and Inclusion strategy.
  • Explicitly adopting a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination within a committed learning culture that creates safe spaces to talk about racism.

Chair of the Board Aisha Sheikh-Anene said:

‘Following the murder of George Floyd, people all around the world recognised afresh that fundamental change was still needed across society, if we are to realise a future that was more equal and equitable. The independent review carried out for the Foundation provided us the space to discuss what steps we can take to realise that future. We know that the Chair and CEO relationship in any charity is vital to drive action and that is why we are making these commitments together. The Board has committed to act and keep learning and is completely supportive of the direction we are taking.’

Chief Executive Mark Rowland said:

‘All of us face real questions about our responsibility for addressing racial inequalities. That is why we were disappointed at the Sewell report last month, which cast doubt on the extent of racism in the UK. The Foundation believes it is crucial that we take action on racial justice, as a vital part of fulfilling our vision of good mental health for all. Our plan won’t solve the problem of racism in our society but, as a result of these actions, we do anticipate an organisation that is more reflective, representative and relevant.'

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About the Mental Health Foundation

Our vision is of good mental health for all. The Mental Health Foundation works to prevent mental health problems. We will drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, and support communities, families and individuals to lead mentally healthy lives with a particular focus on those at greatest risk. The Foundation is the home of Mental Health Awareness Week.