We are continuing to highlight the fantastic projects of our young people, all working to shape mental health care in the city, for World Mental Health Day 2023.
Today, we're spotlighting Zoe Fung, Think4Brum EDI lead, and their work with our Pride Table Talks, which discussed the challenges that face the LGBTQ+ community when accessing healthcare.
Read the full conversation with Zoe below:
Hi, my name is Zoe Fung and I am the current equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lead for the Think4Brum (T4B) group. As a young person who has grown up experiencing the healthcare system, its amazing qualities and shortcomings, I wanted to be a part of the change that genuinely sees individuals like me and seeks to take our opinions and thoughts to drive improvement. I joined T4B after my mental health severely deteriorated during the COVID pandemic lockdowns. I felt overlooked by the system, and wanted to do something to help make sure young people with similar experiences don't feel brushed off.
What is the project?
The project is called Pride Table Talks. It was a series of round table talks between service users and BWC staff to help discuss the challenges that face the LGBTQ+ community when accessing healthcare, and how we can change that.
Why did you get involved in this project?
As someone who is apart of the LGBTQ+ community, this project felt really personal. I wanted to be able to raise the voices of other LGBTQ+ individuals and share their thoughts in a safe environment where they aren't afraid to speak their mind.
Why will this project help young people in our service?
This project has raised awareness on things that impact everyone, not just the LGBTQ+ community. Things like using the correct pronouns, preferred name or nickname, making sure we get access to equal healthcare apply to every young person. It has also helped highlight the issues that people face, on an individual and systemic level, and helps us to organise and direct plans to address these concerns, such as staff-wide allyship training, maternity specific training around LGBTQ+ parents, and campaigns such as "Call me by my name" which aim to help promote better communication and understanding between staff and service users.
Why are you particularly proud of this project?
I'm proud of the way that this project lifted LGBTQ+ voices and gave them a platform to speak on in which they were respected and heard. It personally was very eye-opening and validating to hear others' experiences and also to listen to the real reactions from staff, especially when the subject topic was quite sensitive and difficult to talk about.
What did you like most about being involved in this project?
I can't just name one, but the two things I liked the most about being involved in this project was a) making the Pride Table Talks poster that was sent out to staff networks and b) chairing one of the discussions! I have always loved graphic design, and this enabled me to combine my two passions: EDI and art. I also loved being able to actively partake in the discussions. It felt very rewarding being able to "pass the mic" to people with something to say!