Do you live in the Sandwell area and want an opportunity to help shape local mental health services?

1 December 2020
Changing our Lives

Changing our Lives want to speak to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities as part of The Sandwell Mental Health People’s Parliament. This is because they recognise that access to mental health support can be difficult and along with other ethnic minority groups Gypsy, Roma and Traveller have been hit hard by COVID-19 and the effects of lockdown.

Changing Our Lives is looking for people from minority ethnic communities living in Sandwell to take part in a project about how COVID-19 has affected their mental health. They especially want to speak to people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities as they are aware that more work needs to be done to include Gypsy, Roma and Traveller voices and needs in work around mental health.

The Sandwell Mental Health People’s Parliament, organised by Changing Our Lives, is speaking to 100 people in Sandwell about what mental health means to them, how they keep mentally healthy and what happens when they experience mental health difficulties. This is called the ‘State of Sandwell’. Findings will be presented to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, local NHS services and other relevant people to improve mental health support.

Everyone has times of good mental health and times of mental health difficulty so the project won’t just include people who identify as having had mental health difficulties. The work is focused on minority ethnic communities because studies have shown that some minority ethnic communities in the UK, including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, are less able to access mental health support and may also be hardest hit by COVID-19 and the effects of lockdown.

If you live in Sandwell and want to speak to Changing Our Lives, please get in touch with Holly at or by phone on 07534 000831. All conversations are held in confidence over phone or video chat at a time to suit you.

Mareesha Morris, Member of the Mental Health People’s Parliament says: “The Mental Health People’s Parliament is an essential vehicle to hold decision-makers to account for services and support. It’s run by individuals who have recent experiences of mental health difficulties and are passionate about change. 

As a member of the Mental Health People’s Parliament, my motto is ‘no decision about me, should be made without me’. 

I believe that this year’s State of Sandwell is absolutely imperative. There should be no disparity in the care or treatment a person receives because of the colour of their skin or the ethnic background they belong to. Hard and probing questions must be asked, but beyond that change, must be seen.”

More information about the Mental Health People’s Parliament can be found here:

Changing Our Lives is also promoting State of Sandwell via Facebook (ChangingOurLives), Twitter (@positive_lives) and Instagram (changingourlives).

Changing Our Lives, a West Midlands based charity established in 2002, works with disabled people and people with lived experience of mental health difficulties, many of whom are or have been deprived of their basic human rights and dignity, to enable them to lead fulfilling, ordinary lives as equal citizens. Our work is grounded in the principles of co-production, is outcome and community-focused, and centres around celebrating the lives and achievements, big and small, of people whose lives have been shaped by a constant battle against societal perceptions of their ability or mental health, as well as other barriers, be these physical, communicative or stigmatic.