Statement on racism, and the urgent action we are taking
Following the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement and activists across the globe have increased their work and presence to bring to light the intense and horrific racial inequality and racist violence inherent in society.
It should not have taken outrage on a global scale for these issues to be scrutinised at this depth, but the truth is that many of us were happy to assume that we did not contribute to the problem. That if we did not actively perform overtly racist acts, we were exempt from blame. That a societal problem somehow didn’t implicate all of us.
It is clear, now, that this view needs to be challenged. To be inactive is to be complicit, as individuals and as organisations.
At Platfform, we have perpetuated racial discrimination through ignorance of its scale. We have not taken action to address unconscious discrimination in our processes, language and culture, and we have failed to take the steps needed to become an organisation that truly represents the breadth of experiences of the people we aim to support. We did not recognise that inaction made us part of the problem, and so the difficult questions were not asked.
We have not challenged racism. We have been complacent. We have been complicit.
This fact is at severe odds with our values, our work, and our mission. We cannot claim to work towards our aim of supporting people to tackle mental health challenges if we do not recognise our failings and work ceaselessly to address them, however uncomfortable or challenging the accompanying conversations and realisations will be. We cannot claim a mission of “sustainable wellbeing for all” if we do not seek to better understand and address racial bias, discrimination and the imbalances of privilege that exist within our society, and within our organisation.
No doubt we will make mistakes. But we will also listen, learn and, importantly, take action. Our plan lays out the first stages of that action; changes that we are committed to making. These changes may not be the entirety of what we need to do to become active and effective allies, but we hope they will be a significant start. We can only move forward if we are open to understanding and accepting our own bias, ready to learn from each other, and willing to change.
Mental health is a universal human experience. No charity that works to contribute to people’s wellbeing can do so effectively if they do not participate in calling out prejudices that strip people of identity, dignity, and agency. At a time when mental health services are desperately needed, and when people from minority ethnic backgrounds face disproportionate barriers to accessing these services, we cannot be silent.
We need, nationally and globally, a meaningful move towards mental health services that actually represent all of us, and it will need all of us to make that happen. Ideals and good intentions will only get us so far. What’s needed now is real, decisive action.
– Ewan Hilton and the Platfform for Change Board and Leadership Team