Black Lives Matter: CORC's statement of support
Here at CORC, alongside communities nationally and globally, we are profoundly moved, affected and mobilised by the murder of George Floyd as well as by the events, demonstrations and dialogues that have ensued in response. We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues and with the Black Lives Matter movement.
We understand anti-racism is an active and sustained process, and as a team we are working on what it means to say that ‘Black lives matter’ in the work that we do at CORC. There are aspects of mental health that we care passionately about where racial disparities are well-documented - in experiences of mental ill-health, and in the inequalities and discrimination in people’s access to support and their experiences in services and contact with professionals. Further to this is tackling systemic racism inherent in the way that we collect and interpret data and carry out research. If power is established through accepted forms of knowledge and scientific ‘truths’, we need to interrogate ways in which our efforts to build knowledge are also part of the problem.
At CORC we are committed to contributing to and informing conversations on racism and inequalities within the child and youth mental health sector and have identified four initial areas of focus:
1. Much of our work involves using, and analysing responses to, outcome measurement questionnaires. We know from related research that standard measurement tools of this type can be prone to systematic racial bias. We have not been giving sufficient attention to understanding, broadcasting and discussing the way in which bias in these measurement tools might be shaping our data and research findings in child and youth mental health. As a first step we will be reviewing literature to better understand how this might be impacting on the knowledge that underpins the way we design, deliver and use services, and sharing this with others through our training, guidance, events and communications. We will also put information on our website (where available) about the ethnic groups that measures have been validated for.
2. We know from our conversations with young people that the standardised outcome measurement questionnaires we use do not always pick up on - or lead us to prioritise - the information that is most meaningful or important to young people in relation to their experience of mental health and mental health support. We will be inviting Black young people and parents to focus groups to discuss with us how the items in questionnaires do and do not speak to what matters to them, and to join with us in identifying next steps to address what emerges.
3. At CORC we hold data relating to the mental health and wellbeing outcomes of more than 400,000 children and young people in the UK. Our research strategy aims to be relevant and useful to the CORC member services who have shared data, to others seeking to improve child and youth mental health support, and to the communities they serve. We are reviewing where we can use our data to better understand and address racial inequalities in experiences of mental health and mental health support. We welcome suggestions from our membership and Network as to what would support you in promoting anti-racist practice in your work. Please contact us at email@example.com if you have suggestions or reflections to inform our research priorities.
4. We will be reviewing research and recommendations about good practice in conceptualising race and ethnicity categories in data collection and research. We will build on this by asking the young people and parents in our focus groups about how they prefer to be identified. Following on from this, we will share on our website the approach that we will be adopting in case this is helpful for others.
We will be sharing our progress and findings with the CORC membership and Network through our newsletter, website and twitter feed, and inviting colleagues to reflect on what emerges, and to discuss with us the next steps and further actions these prompt. We commit to affirming that Black lives matter in our work.
The CORC Team