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Young Black Men and Mental Health Programme

Our pioneering programme designed to improve mental health outcomes for young Black men

The Young Black Men and Mental Health programme is a pioneering and innovative programme designed to improve mental health wellbeing outcomes for young Black men.

Islington Council and the NHS successfully received investment funding of £1.6 million to lead this innovative mental health programme which will help to create a better future for young Black men and boys and support the council’s and NHS efforts to tackle inequality.

The three-year programme, will see a holistic approach to mental health issues among young Black men in Islington, with the aims of improving personal mental health and wellbeing, aspirations, and life opportunities, while reducing exclusions.

For more information about the Young Black Men and Mental Health Programme and for information on getting involved in the Barbers Round Chair Project, please contact Charisse Monero at

Learn more about the four pillars that make up this programme and how to get involved: 

Pillar 1: BAM (Becoming a Man Programme) in schools

BAM (Becoming a Man) is a Chicago constructed and evidence-based, trauma informed group counselling and mentoring programme. It is based in school settings, and is a strength-based programme that will help to build the resilience and aspirations of young Black boys. It will provide them with a repertoire of coping skills to make responsible decisions for their future and become positive members of their school and community.

  • The BAM programme is school-based run by a counsellor who will be assigned to work in each school for five days per week
  • Each BAM counsellor will run up to five groups in each Islington secondary school, comprising of 12-15 pupils 
  • Young people will receive a combination of weekly BAM groups and one to one mentoring support
  • Young people will benefit from 24 months of support 
  • Celebration events will happen throughout the year to highlight progress and successes of participating pupils
  • The 24-month curriculum is based on 6 area-based curriculum
  • At the end of Year 1, we will assess the learning, impact of programme via holistic assessments throughout its delivery; a BAM schools delivery group will be set up to oversee its delivery and implementation. Our long-term ambition is to scale this programme across to all Islington secondary schools

How to refer a young person on to the BAM programme?

Referrals into the BAM programme will come directly from schools who are participating in the delivery of the Becoming a Man programme.

Pillar 2: The Elevate Innovation Hub

The new Elevate Innovation Hub is part of our pioneering Young Black Men and Mental Health programme – it will jointly be supported by Islington Council, NHS Camden, and Islington Trust and Mental Health Foundation. The new Elevate Innovation Hub will comprise of a small multidisciplinary team consisting of a Senior Clinical Lead, Clinical Psychologist, and Elevate Therapeutic Practitioners. The team will work together to provide a suite of holistic psychological therapies and youth work interventions for young people aged between 11-25. Participants will be at risk of poor health outcomes, serious youth violence or exclusions from schools.

The objective is to provide a holistic package of care that is efficient, user-led, and addresses multiple levels of need to not only improve overall wellbeing, but reduce social exclusion and generate better outcomes for young Black boys and men. The Elevate Innovation Hub will provide:

  • A trauma informed outreach support offer through Elevate key workers to build trust and support young black men in the local community by bridging mental health services to the front door of communities
  • Each Elevate Therapeutic Practitioner will provide a combination of youth work and psychological interventions. Each Elevate practitioner will support up to 10 -15 young people between the ages of 11-25; provide direct one-to-one support; co-develop bespoke goals plans for up to 1 year

How can you refer into the Elevate Innovation Hub?

Referrals into the new Elevate Innovation Hub will come via professional routes only from either social worker, GP, school, adult services, YOT, Youth services or a voluntary organisation etc  Referrals will go directly through to a central point of access  A weekly multiagency screening and intake panel will be chaired by the Senior Clinical lead who will assess each referral and decide the most appropriate package of support.  

Please note, this referral pathway is subject to change. 

Pillar 3: The Barbers Round Chair Project

We are partnering up with local barbershops in Islington to deliver the innovative Barbers Round Chair Project. This programme aims to deconstruct barriers to mental health support and create safe pathways into community mental health services and our new Elevate Innovation Hub.
Here is an overview of the initiative:


  • We are training up local Islington barber to become community mental health ambassadors, building on the skills they already have to support conversations about mental health
  • To make this happen, we need community leaders who understand the importance of well-being and self-care
  • The project is a unique and powerful way to build intergenerational relationships and create a sense of community. Bringing young Black men and boys together in safe spaces can help create a sense of belonging
  • The Barbers Round Chair Project will be in distinctive Islington barbershops and the visual graphic in windows will distinguish it as a site of well-being


How can I access more information about The Barbers Round Chair Project? 

The Barbers Round Chair Project will be launched in select barber shops. More information about this scheme and participating barber shops in Islington a will be updated on this webpage once the programme is open. 



Pillar 4: System Change Training and Practice Development

Challenging racism and injustice is mission critical for Islington. The council and NHS recognise and are committed to taking action to bring about enduring and meaningful change. We want to eradicate the deep inequalities and systematic, structural racism that impacts our communities.

We will be rolling out a four-pronged programme across our Islington Council, NHS and partnership system. The training programme is aimed at front line practitioners, team managers and system leaders across Islington Council an NHS.

  • Let’s talk about race and culture’ training sessions
  • Cultural competency can support inclusive leadership practice 
  • Action learning sets
  • Train the trainer sessions for system champions
We will be rolling out cultural competent and anti-racist training from December 2022.

How can I access the Young Black Men and Mental Health programme?

Becoming a Man in secondary schools: referrals into the BAM programme will come directly from schools who are participating in the delivery of the Becoming a Man programme.

Elevate Innovation Hub: access and referrals into the Elevate Innovation Hub will come from professionals. To find out more information, please visit the website   

The Barbers Round Chair Project: if you are interested in becoming a community mental health ambassador, please contact us on the details below to find out more information

Training and workforce development: we will be rolling out cultural competent and anti-racist training from December 2022.

Media coverage of Young Black Men and Mental Health

Since launching the Young Black Men and Mental Health programme on 1 November 2022, the programme has received a range of media coverage, which you can watch and read: 

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