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Mental Health and Wellbeing Project

Recent evidence gathered by Mosaic Community Trust highlighted that Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women in Church Street, Westminster are not adequately accessing the mental health services that are available.  This is largely due to a general lack of awareness, understanding and stigma towards mental health problems and a failure of mainstream mental health services to understand or provide services that are acceptable and accessible to non-white British communities.  Many people from ethnic minority groups do not acknowledge their mental health problems and instead spend their lives suffering in silence due to fear, shame, negative stereotypes, and lack of understanding of mental health. 

Mosaic Community Trust has developed a community driven project which aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of 160 families from BME communities in Church Street Ward by:

  • Increasing the awareness and understanding of mental health and wellbeing in order to address stigma and other barriers that prevent open discussion of and support for mental health; and
  • Increasing awareness of relevant services available in Westminster to address mental health needs in order to increase health seeking behaviour.

The project has established a self-help mental health support group for local women in the Church Street area and women from this group are being trained as community mental health champions.  Mosaic Community Trust, in collaboration with local mental health service providers and qualified counsellors and mental health trainers, has been facilitating weekly sessions offering information, advice, tools and skills as well as providing peer support.  Self-Help Management tools are being provided through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) facilitated by professional therapists from Westminster IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies). The impact on the mental health and wellbeing of these residents is already visible and there is a significant increase in their health seeking behaviour with reference to their mental health issues.

“I want to apply my knowledge and skills and start working.  I want to reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues.  I feel stronger now and want to help fellow Sudanese and support them with their mental health.”                                                                                   

Ongoing outreach work in the community will encourage at least 50 women to actively participate in project activities, including two awareness raising workshops for both service users and other relevant and interested members of the community, as well as activities at the local library, community centres and schools. 

All project participants are actively encouraged to share their learning on mental health with their friends, family and colleagues, which is resulting in more people accessing statutory services to address their mental health needs.  Women who have attended our activities no longer experience the stigma and other barriers attached to accessing mental health and wellbeing services.

Project Update – February 2016 

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