The lived experiences and diverse cultural backgrounds of young people from racialised communities need to inform the services they access. We believe the best way to accomplish our vision is to share power with young people, let them take the lead and be open to thinking differently. This project gives young people from racialised communities a seat at the table, and an opportunity to redesign the mental health systems that support them.

For our first cohort of Changemakers, we recruited 15 young people from racialised communities aged 18-25 from Leeds, Luton and Birmingham with lived experience of mental health issues, and injustices. We have built their capacity to lead change through a transformational personal development journey, culminating in youth-led social action projects that create tangible, impactful outputs to shift the dial on mental health provision. Following our first Changemaker residential, four inspirational social action teams were formed, read below to meet the teams!


Team Engage set out with the aim to engage frontline practitioners in creating culturally competent mental health services and support. Their aim is to create a digital resource to be utilised by GP’s that provides training in cultural awareness. The resource will include videos of personal experiences, in addition to signposts to different organisations which raise awareness about these issues.

Elliot Busari

Elliot is a mental health enthusiast, activist and aspiring clinician. He has gathered a vast amount of experience in mental health participation, influencing services, research and policy. Elliot is a Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience undergraduate at the University of Essex and placement student at The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. As an emerging poet and writer, he uses his creativity to challenge stigma, raise awareness and spark meaningful conversations. Elliot is especially passionate about revolutionising black male mental health support and engaging black majority churches in creating culturally appropriate mental health services. 

Pleasant (Naomi) Adesiyan

Hi, I’m Pleasant (Naomi), I’m currently a third-year university student studying psychology. I am passionate about mental health but specifically mental health awareness concerning stigma in the BAME communities. I run my own psychology-based Instagram blog account that documents my journey in the psychology field; at the same time the blog raises awareness about key issues in our communities. Apart from my love for mental health, I am also very interested in research, especially research about non-western forms of psychotherapy and interventions. This is one of the things that prompted me to become a peer researcher with the centre for mental health. It was an opportunity for me to participate directly in gaining and gathering research with likeminded individuals. In short, I am a 20-year-old, black woman who loves everything about mental health and hopes to be a role model for other black girls to pursue a career in this field. 

Anuareth Pombal

My name is Anuareth Pombal and I am a student support worker. As a Young Changemaker, myself and my team are currently working towards our social action plan to engage practitioners focusing on providing cultural awareness with resources for GPs. The project has given me the tools to be able to empathise and develop my understanding of mental health issues and racial injustices with effective change. This is my opportunity to vocalise and deliver impactful suggestions for our community led by young people who are the best people to implement these changes as we are the ones that are directly affected by these inequalities.

Serena Kelly

[Coming Soon]


Team Change set out to influence the attitudes towards young Black people’s mental health and improve the communication on mental health within the Black community, whilst giving young people a voice. Their aim is to host creative change workshops for young black men and women aged 18-25. These workshops will give young Black people a voice when it comes to talking about their mental health, create a safe space and educate young Black people about the stigmas within the Black community.

Tarriq Jones

Tarriq is a young creative making an impact through music, content creation and social action. In the Young Changemakers programme him and his team are working to reduce the stigma of mental health within the Black community by bringing young Black people together in workshops that allow them to express themselves and discuss mental health in a safe environment. You can follow what they’re doing on Instagram and Twitter at Change: Black Mental Health. 

Adesoji (SJ) Akinjomo

My name is Soji and I am a part of U.K. YOUTH Changemakers, I am very happy and proud to be a part of the Changemakers, being a part of the Change markers has changed my life because know I get to work on a social action project that can help the youth who suffer with mental health issues, and I have the change to help other youth communities apart from my own. Apart from youth work I also love to do photography, write poetry and creative writing.

Lara Richards

I’m Lara Richards, I’m 25 & from Leeds. I am passionate about making a change & passionate about helping others. Our team project is based on Attitudes and Behaviours & is Called Change; Young Black mental health. I’d like to see our social project make a change and help others express themselves through creative ways such as creative writing, poetry etc and allow young individuals to find their voice. I am also passionate about supporting others on their journey. I hope our project takes off and helps others to express themselves in different ways and that we can pilot it in different cities.

Crown Agabi

My name is Crown Agabi, I am 20 and currently taking a gap year. As someone who’s passionate about raising mental health awareness in black communities having seen the effects of ignorance first-hand, I became a changemaker to help provide me with the means to make that change and it’s been a bigger help than I hoped for. I chose the changing public attitudes and behaviours strand and my team’s project is called Change: Black Mental Health. Our main goals are to create a safe space for black youths to talk about mental health issues, to tackle the stigmas surrounding mental health and to improve communication and conversations on mental health within the Black community. Our first step towards those goals is workshops, to give youths a space to creative about their expressions and thoughts on mental health whilst also educating them.

Tyra Ellen

[Coming Soon]


Not so micro are campaigning to reform policy for school teaching qualifications to include microaggression as an element of a teaching qualification. They aim to connect with influencers, MPs, youth organisations and schools. Attend teacher conferences, school boards and events. And build their brand to have between 2-3k followers on all social media platforms to reach as many people as possible to make change.

Melvin Riley

I’m an Aspiring Politician | Activist | Public speaker | Social Entrepreneur | Entrepreneur |

I have been activist for the past 8 years being a voice for young people across the West-midlands and UK and worked with many youth groups locally and internationally from the Wolverhampton youth council to the Model United Nations tackling socio-economical problems and campaigned on some of the biggest issues facing our generation; youth mental health, knife crime, Climate change, CSE, BLM, county lines and more.

Now a Diana award change maker running a national campaign ‘Not so micro reforming teacher training to include micro-aggression training as a mandatory element.

Ashleigh Onabajo

My names Ashleigh and I am 23. I got involved in Young Changemakers because I have always been passionate about improving mental health. I also have seen first-hand the way black young people’s mental health is overlooked and wanted to make a difference.

Paul Taiwo

Hi, I am Paul Taiwo. Mental Health Crisis is a worldwide epidemic, greater than the Corona Virus. Mental health difficulties are a silent killer, keeping one isolated in the prison of their mind, particularly among young ethnic minorities. As a person who severely struggled with mental health problems, it was difficult for me to get help because of the dogma and stigma of racial injustice. Hence, I am vigorously driven to mitigate the factors that lead to mass inequality for young people.

‘Not So Micro’ is the name of our team project. You can contact us on Twitter or LinkedIn – #NotSoMicro Instagram. We are passionately campaigning to lobby parliament to offer teacher support regarding unconscious bias, which leads to microaggressions. Additionally, I am also energetic about creating change as well as being a part of enacting a nationwide positive difference.

Dotun Busari

Dotun is a Politics & International Relations Graduate, interested in political advocacy and social innovation. As a content creator and entrepreneur, Dotun seeks to inspire, empower and uplift those around her. She desires to influence policy to enhance the advancement of the under-represented, and vulnerable voices in society. Her experience as a young leader, has propelled her to engage in programmes that shift the trajectory for young people, particularly within marginalised areas. Dotun’s passion for people inspired her to become a Young Changemaker, she hopes to raise awareness for mental wellbeing, and encourage personal development. 


Verity is a new podcast that aims to bring together practitioners, specialists and survivors of sexual abuse who can give deeper insight into mental health and how to deal with sexual assault. This podcast will allow listeners to know that they are not abnormal in their thoughts or life experiences by bringing knowledge and understanding to their listeners and giving them options and choices over what works best for them.

Aaliyah Mpesi

Hi! My names Aaliyah and I am a student training to be a teacher. I am 23 years old, and I have a passion for making a change in our local community and education system. I would like to see more people open and honest about what needs to positively change and how we can all work together to achieve that goal.

Shiane Smith-Corbett

[Coming Soon]

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