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Kilburn rapper Doc Brown opens new mental health unit in Westminster

PUBLISHED: 12:31 14 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:31 14 October 2016

Service user Rhonda Alexander with Doc Brown,Jackie Shaw CAMHS service director and CNWL chief executive Claire Murdoch

Service user Rhonda Alexander with Doc Brown,Jackie Shaw CAMHS service director and CNWL chief executive Claire Murdoch

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A rapper and actor from Kilburn broke down while talking about a close relative who had experienced a mental breakdown.

Doc Brown, who is also an author and stand-up comic, was speaking at the opening of a new building for the Westminster Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Westbourne Park on World Mental Health Day.

Addressing the audience the 39-year-old brother of author Zadie Smith, real name Ben Bailey Smith, said: “I’ve been trying to work through some things…” before pausing and turning away from the crowd.

He went on to talk about the importance of supporting children and young people through difficult times.

The former youth worker said that when he first started working with young people, “sometimes children would disclose things to you and you didn’t know what to do.”

It led to him studying for a BTEC qualification in youth work and later starting a charity to support unaccompanied refugee children coming into the UK.

Rhonda Alexander, a patient, said that the CAMHS service which includes talking therapies, made the difference for her and her three children when they experienced difficulties, and later when one of her sons had a depressive episode.

She said: “I don’t know where my family would be without Westminster CAMHS. Their input was life changing and helped us to move forward,”

Doc Brown and Claire Murdoch, chief executive of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) showed support for the national #IAMWHOLE anti-stigma mental health campaign, launched by the YMCA to reach out to young people.

Ms Murdoch said: “We’re still on our journey as a society when it comes to challenging stigma.”

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