The stigma around Black mental health still exists

Rianna Patterson, Founder of Dominica Dementia Foundation explores the stigma that still exists towards Black mental health, highlighting why we need to see the BAME community represented in the media.

Rianna Patterson, Dominica Dementia Foundation



We need to normalise conversations around BAME communities seeking mental health support. It is important that we take care of our mental health and that we are empathetic to those who are struggling with their mental health.

Through the Dominica Dementia Foundation, we have created safe spaces to talk about Dementia as we host virtual support groups for Dominica families nationally and abroad.

I do not want to only tell my story. I want to help other people share their stories, people from the Caribbean and the world by extension. I am creating a platform where people can feel comfortable telling their story. These stories will be a call to action.

My desire is to create intentional media content that will lead to social change; documentaries that are unbiased and unscripted.

I frequently see articles where stigmatised language is used to describe research insights. This is a concern because we need information that is in its truest form. Using negative language only contributes to emphasising the stigma around mental health.

We need to present the right information to control the spread of misinformation around neurodegenerative disorders, particularly incurable ones such as dementia.

BAME communities might be reluctant to take on clinical trials for dementia research as this group has been poorly represented up to this point. It is important that we are engaging with research as it helps scientists improve variants of drugs to work towards finding a cure for dementia.

The best people to help create a world they want to live in are the people that live this reality.

Rianna Patterson

Inspiring the next generation of leaders

The key to creating social impact is by inspiring the next generation of leaders. The media influences our thoughts and behaviours. If we continue to see negative connotations around dementia, then the perspective and emotion relating to the topic will not be favourable.

We need to address the misconceptions around dementia; it is possible to live well with dementia, but most people would not be aware of this as we amplify only one side of this disorder.

If we want to create a dementia-friendly planet, we need more engagement with mental health communities. If you are making a dementia related documentary it might be best to consult those who are living with dementia on the layout and how they would like to be represented. The key is to present unbiased news.

Include those with dementia in policies. If you are creating a policy for work or within government relations, consult with a dementia professional and a case group of those with dementia.

The best people to help create a world they want to live in are the people that live this reality.

Visit the Dominica Dementia Foundation website to find out more about this youth-led organisation which aims to raise awareness of dementia, provide emotional support to families and their caregivers and to facilitate research towards dementia in Dominica.

Guest Author

Rianna Patterson, Dominica Dementia Foundation



Rianna Patterson is a Queens Young Leader, founder of Dominica Dementia Foundation, an initiative driven by a youth-led organisation she founded when she was 18. Its aim is to not only to raise awareness of the impacts of dementia on people in Dominica, but also to raise funds for the families affected, and provide emotional support for both families and caregivers, as well as facilitate research towards dementia around the world. Having lost her Grandfather to the illness, she became aware of the long-term effects of this and how it is affecting people, and so wants to share the story of the work taking place there, and perhaps inspire others in the global audience to help further and join in. She is currently crowdfunding to produce a documentary film on dementia in the Caribbean. The Documentary will tell the stories of people and families affected by the illness, and respected Caribbean elders, to learn their perspectives and how they are able to live such fruitful and long lives.