181 not a reference

Get communities involved: tackling mental health

By Sarah Hobbs

A community-wide approach to tackling mental health is the most efficient and sustainable way of tackling issues such as depression and anxiety in minority communities.

Our new health resource, Talking from The Heart, produced in partnership with AT Medics, London’s largest group of NHS GP practices, has been positively received by different sectors of the healthcare profession, community and faith organisations, and patients. We believe a large reason for this is because these same groups were involved in advising, creating and the disseminating the resource. This diverse collection of partners with their varied perspectives and skills has enabled us to develop a practical, innovative resource.

Other findings gleaned from producing this health resource include:

  • Tailored and personalised support in terms of mental health for minority communities is also lacking on a national level. Voices from minority communities remain unheard, underrepresented, and appreciated in service provision and policy, despite pockets of decent voluntary-sector services.
  • There is a shift towards peer mentoring: training community members who may be mental health service users themselves to be ‘peer advocates’ within their own communities. The role of peer advocates is to provide some level of health care and support - in tandem with practitioners - sharing information and resources, and signposting services. This builds on the person’s own knowledge, experience, interests and skills. Have a look at a report produced by NESTA in April about the growth of people-powered health, transforming communities from being seen as resource poor to resource rich through valuing their own experiences and skills.