Diverse Cymru are pleased to announce and also congratulate Suzanne Duval our BME Mental Health Manager who in the 2018 Queens Birthday Honours List has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her years’ of work and activism within the BME Mental Health sector in Wales.
Suzanne has 30 years’ experience, of working in the BME sector with the last 18 years dedicated to BME Mental Health. Over the years her excellent mental health work has been acknowledged by practitioners in the Health service, Local Authority and voluntary sector peers, which has led to her receiving amongst others awards from the Black Voluntary Sector Network Awards, GlaxoSmithKline Health Impact Award, and the Guardian Charity.
As a Director of the All Wales BME Mental Health Group, ‘AWETU’, who merged with the Cardiff and Vale Coalition of Disabled People (CVCDP) in 2011 to form Diverse Cymru, Suzanne has worked tirelessly in highlighting the inequality faced by BME individuals in the delivery of the mental health services they receive, with particular regard to improving the cultural sensitivity and as a consequence the cultural competence of these services to better serve the BME community in Wales.
As a practical step to improving these services, In 2015 Suzanne designed and published which was the first of its kind in Wales, a Cultural Competency Toolkit for Mental Health for Wales, aimed at practitioners, professionals and front-line staff working within mental health, health and social care sector in Wales.
The toolkit was launched by the Health Minister Vaughan Gething in 2016, and has been followed in 2018 with the rolling out of an Accreditation Standard which will provide through an established accredited body, the United Kingdom Investors in Equality and Diversity (UKIED), a charter mark that organisations can work towards an excellence standard in culturally appropriate services. This initiative is the first of its kind in the UK.
Vaughan Gething said at the time:
“Diverse Cymru provides valuable support for our NHS mental health services by providing a voice and support for people from BME service users in Wales
“I welcome the development of the Cultural Competency Toolkit which will help professionals and services deliver more appropriate care and support. Such projects will help us achieve a number of the goals included in our ten-year strategy Together for Mental Health.”
It is hoped that the Toolkit and Accreditation will provide organisations and practitioners with relevant techniques and interventions to deliver an effective culturally competent, patient centred service.
This award is a well-deserved recognition for Suzanne as it acknowledges the work and contribution she has made to BME and mental health services in Wales, Diverse Cymru are therefore truly proud and grateful to Suzanne for her work over the past 30 years.