This special edition of Sisters of the Yam came about after I was put in touch with Terence McLaughlin by Rose Snow after the Survivors Workers Conference report Stronger than Ever was printed.
Sisters of the Yam is the name used by Black Women’s Mental Health Project as their national newsletter taken from the name of Bell Hooks’ groundbreaking book of the same title, Sisters of the Yam Black women and Self Recovery. We were also encouraged by the setting up of Yam Support Groups and Self Help Projects in the USA.
It was with this in mind that we wanted to re-launch with this special edition calling together known Black Women Service Users and Survivors to take this opportunity to speak for themselves. As you read throughout these papers Black Women want to talk, they also want to be taken seriously. Veronica Dewan. Annie G. Christine Cudjoe and June Gordon between them have a wealth of experience of how they were being treated by professionals in the Mental Health System. Most if not all these articles are relevant to those that provides services for and to Black Women.
We therefore would welcome your feedback and constructive criticism. A lot of work has gone into these contributions such as Before Black History and Black Identity by Isabel Adonis and her Badge of Shame are excellent bits of work. This also includes Patricia Chambers’ What Black Women Want from Mental Health Services
and Carol Jenkins’ essays on Black Women’s Mental Health System and Premila Trivedi’s Are We Who We Say We Are or Who You Think We Are, very timely pieces of writing. I will let my two articles/essays speak for themselves. Many of the women in this edition including Mary Campbell and Mariyam Maule have never met, but all are known to the Black Women’s Mental Health Project.
All the women have agreed that this in itself is groundbreaking as we have organised ourselves in getting this done at this time. We all hope that when you read this you will understand our limits and limitations as this was new for many of us. It is our hope that we continue to encourage black women service users and survivors to use all avenues available to them to speak for themselves and become active today for a better tomorrow.
Edited by Angela Linton-Abulu
Front Cover by Angela and Molly AGM 2004
- Are We Who We Say We Are – Or Who You Think We Are? By Premila Trivedi 4
- bell hooks Who Inspired, Healed And Held Us Accountable By Angela Linton-Abulu 6
- Two Hours Fifty Five Minutes By Veronica Dewan 8
- Annie G: A Personal Experience By Annie G 9
- Black Women’s Mental Health By Carol Jenkin 10
- The Old Re-Invented Black Mental Health System, Nothing Has Changed Or Improved For Us As Service Users/Survivors By Carol Jenkin 11
- In Loving Memory By Veronica Dewan 12
- What Black Women Want From The Mental Health Services By Patricia Chambers 14
- Black History & Black Identity By Isabel Adonis 16
- A Sisters Of The Yam Interview With Angela Linton-Abulu 20
- A South End Press Interview With Bell Hooks 22
- Making Black Dolls, Making New Life -Constructing An Identity By Isabel Adonis 24
- Christine Cudjoe Survivor 26
- Improvements For Mental Health Treatment By Mary Campbell 28
- Please Listen By June C Gordon 29
- Black Women’s Mental Health Project New Campaign Sheila’s Pledge 2005/2006 30
- Poetry 32
- Black Women’s Mental Health Project 34