Community Voices Raised at Mental Health Debate
One Voice held a mental health debate as part of their ongoing work on the Baiter Sehat project, in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
The 90-minute debate was hosted by Jal Iqbal, expert lead on mental health for Baiter Sehat and part of the Community Restart team. The debate also featured local GP Dr. Rakesh Sharma who stressed the importance of support networks and families in dealing with mental health problems. He also reinforced the view that access to services was a key component of mental health.
Members of the local public, mental health professionals and young people were part of the audience that looked at raising awareness of the issue of mental health in the BME communities of Blackburn and Darwen. The debate also looked at how services could better work to serve hard to reach communities.
The research will form part of the work of One Voice to provide recommendations to Blackburn with Darwen’s Public Health.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Sharma commented, “I am really pleased that One Voice have taken the time and effort to organise this event. It’s so important to listen to the views of the community on these matters. I applaud One Voice and hope they continue their good work.”
The attendees unanimously agreed that mental health and suicide were real concerns in the South Asian heritage community, and that education was the key.
One of those in attendance said,
“I really enjoyed the debate. I found it informative but the discussions also highlighted that there is much work to do by the services to reach our community. There still is a stigma attached to mental health in our community. We need to break that down.”