Community Spotlight: Black Beetle Health
Throughout the month, we will be spotlighting the work of incredible organisations which focus on providing spaces of healing, joy & community.
In this article, we find out more about the motivations and goals of Harvey Kennedy-Pitt who is the CEO of Black Beetle Health
What were your motivations behind starting Black Beetle Health?
The concept of Black Beetle Health was born out of a desire to share what I was learning through my public health doctoral studies at the University of Chester. As you might imagine, as someone with a science, public health and education background, I’ve come across buckets and buckets of information—facts, figures, theories—all of which I consider to be game-changing, lifesaving information. What I quickly realised, however, is that, in actuality, this was not ‘common’ knowledge; it wasn’t just information people were discussing down at the pub. It was like watching your friends party on the beach knowing there is a tsunami headed their way. In my case, I had limited time and limited resources but wanted to sound the alarm bells. It started as an innocent Instagram page where I thought I’d share a couple of key facts here and there, but that concept soon caught the wind underneath its wings. The rest is history—in the making.
What is your proudest moment with Black Beetle Health?
My proudest moment with Black Beetle Health was the day I heard we’d officially secured registered charity status. Achieving registered charity status was not simply a tick boxing exercise or something that came along with ‘being enthusiastic’ about health. It certainly wasn’t by accident. It meant gaining formal recognition for the important work we were doing and confirmation that there was indeed a need for our work to continue. Registered charity status has enabled us to apply to bigger more sustainable funding that would allow us to be more for our communities, do more for our communities and reach more people within our communities.
What are some of your 2021 plans for Black Beetle Health? How can we support your work?
For us, 2021 is all about focusing on ‘personal resilience’—letting go of the things that sap you of energy and holding fast to the things that bring you JOY. We recently launched our LGBTQ+ Mental Health guide ‘Addressing Mental Health for LGBTQ+ People of Colour‘, which focuses on destigmatising mental health in our communities as well as our winter newsletter entitled “Bring Me JOY: Saying no to the joy police of 2020”. As a community public health charity, our main focus is health education and resource development. We want people to recognise that what makes our work special is our emphasis on evidence-based, peer-reviewed approaches to resource development. Opinions are great and they have their place, but not everyone speaks that language. What our communities need is facts, so that they can make more informed decisions. Sharing our information far and wide, particularly within LGBTQ+ BPoC communities, will help us address widespread misinformation, educate our communities, help signpost people to culturally safe services and empower individuals to engage in better decision making.
Could you give us a final message of hope for any LGBTQ+ folk who may be struggling right now?
I was in self-care mode over the holidays, watching the HBO mini-series “The Undoing” when there it was, this quote. “We must never take measure of ourselves through the eyes of the joyless.” Believe it or not, that quote was the inspiration for this quarter’s ‘Word from the CEO’ segment of the newsletter, which I wrote soon thereafter.
In that segment I go on to say, “Arguing with people, allowing dysfunctional family members to steal our joy, comparing our lives with other peoples’, trying to change people who were determined to stay the same and, last but not least, waiting for external validation to boost our confidence are all thieves of our joy. As a community, we represent what it means to be human in its most original sense. Vulnerable, helpless at times, and, this year, at the mercy of fate. But this year, we choose joy. Though it seems hard to find, we choose joy. Though it doesn’t always seem like something worth searching for, this year we still choose joy.”
Image from Black Beetle Health