Working with Leeds faith leaders to break down cultural barriers

Balvinder Dosanjh, Clinical Engagement, Access & Inclusion Coordinator, blogs on the link between faith and spirituality and mental health and how we’re collaborating with faith leaders to raise awareness and break down cultural barriers in our communities.

Faith and spirituality can play a significant part in a person’s life, especially when it comes to health and wellbeing and helping people to recover. Therefore, working in collaboration with our faith leaders is so important to ensure people in our communities know that it’s ok to ask for help and they don’t need to feel ashamed. Mental health can affect anyone regardless of your ethnic background and our faith leaders fully support this. Faith and spiritualty and medical intervention can work hand in hand together – it’s not an either-or approach.

By working in collaboration with our faith leaders and places of worship we can empower our communities together with a wealth of knowledge and skills. This is key to helping loved ones –  many of whom could be struggling in silence – to reach out and get professional support.

That’s why the Leeds Perinatal Mental Health Service and the UK Islamic Mission are proudly presenting a series of mental health workshops for members of our local communities. The series begins with ‘Parenthood: Our body, our mind’ and focusses on perinatal mental health and how to get the right support. Come along on Saturday 22nd Oct, 2pm – 3.30pm at the Lingfield Centre in Leeds. Click here for bookings.

We’ll be raising awareness of the importance of taking care of your emotional health and wellbeing and aim to break down cultural barriers such as stigma that can prevent people from getting help. The workshops aim to normalise taboo subjects that are often unspoken of in many ethnic minority communities and learn about the fantastic support that is available in Leeds and how to access it. We are also keen to understand and learn from our community to help create positive change and improve maternal mental health outcomes – your viewpoints matter!

These mental health workshops will support well-being interventions across the life course from pregnancy, birth, early childhood to adulthood to help educate our families, parents, aunties, uncles, and our elders that change is needed in our thought processes, and we all have a part to play in this.

Usamah Ahmed is Secretary of the UK Islamic Mission. He says,

“In February 2022, UKIM Leeds met with the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Perinatal Mental Health Team to discuss the importance of tackling mental health. We have been working on strategies for how we will collectively promote the topic ever since.

To speak about mental health is not only important but necessary. Despite being frequently discussed in the media, this is still something which is un-known within some of our local communities. Therefore, bringing this topic directly to our communities is a powerful way of spreading this message and improving people’s understanding.

Mental Health difficulties are on the rise. To be successful, everyone in our communities needs to know that support is available to them.”

Book your place at ‘Parenthood: Our body, our mind’ here