Recognition for our work tackling racial inequality

24 July 2023

Rethink Mental Illness has received formal recognition from a panel of independent judges for its work tackling racial inequality.

The charity has been awarded bronze status by Race Equality Matters, the first stage in a series of awards recognising meaningful action to drive race equality within organisations.

The judging panel, made up of people from ethnically diverse backgrounds who all have experienced racial inequality in the workplace, independently considered the range of initiatives that the charity has put in place to truly embed anti-racism into its organisational culture.

Following the murder of George Floyd, and recognising the disproportionate treatment that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people continue to face within mental health services and wider society, the charity set out to become an anti-racist employer, campaigning organisation and service provider in 2021. Rethink Mental Illness commissioned an independent review and has been addressing the recommendations it made through its Race Equality Action plan.

Steps taken and recognised by the judging panel include a new staff network to amplify the voices of ethnic minority employees and the creation of listening circles to provide a safe space to come together to learn. There has also been an improvement in representation of ethnic minority employees at senior levels of the organisation, while a mutual mentoring scheme where ethnic minority staff shadow senior leaders to help with their career progression has received positive feedback on its impact.

More inclusive recruitment processes are being developed while internal policies and procedures have been strengthened. The charity is also working hard to remove barriers to Black and other minoritised communities accessing support through its services and has implemented plans to embed best practice in matters related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Peter Alleyne, Associate Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Race Equality, said:

“Race Equality Matters is a highly regarded organisation in its field and achieving this status is more than just an award, it’s an honest assessment by an ethnically diverse panel of judges on what we are doing to make a meaningful impact on race equality. This external benchmarking is critical because it means we aren’t marking our own homework when we assess our progress in meeting our anti-racism commitments. In achieving this award, we find ourselves in good company with other trailblazers and organisations across different sectors. It’s incredibly positive news for the charity and a truly positive step in our journey to becoming an anti-racist organisation.”

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, added:

“When we set out to become a truly anti-racist organisation, we knew that actions would speak louder than words. That is why we’re delivering on our Race Equality Action plan, supported by the hard work of colleagues at every level of our organisation. We’re pleased to receive this recognition from Race Equality Matters’ panel of independent judges, but we know that there is still work to be done, and that we must remain accountable. I am confident that with the enthusiasm and openness we will continue to make tangible progress.”