‘Sharing Voices’ during Christmas


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A mental health support group in Bradford is appealing to individuals across the city, who may feel isolated or alone during the Christmas months, to not battle their issues alone.

TEAM: The Sharing Voices team cater for anybody who may be dealing with some sort of mental health issue and are on hand to provide crucial support.

TEAM: The Sharing Voices team cater for anybody who may be dealing with some sort of mental health issue and are on hand to provide crucial support.

Research suggests that the winter period often results in more cases of depression or mental health problems, with many struggling to cope with the ‘family holidays’.

One in four people will reportedly suffer from some sort of mental health issue in their life, with an increased number of cases occurring during the festive season.

Sharing Voices Bradford is a mental health support group, located just off Manningham Lane, which aims to reduce mental health and related inequalities through community development. Rather than relying on prescription drugs, the group take a proactive approach to issues with community development workers on hand to cater for every demographic.

SUPPORT: Sharing Voices deputy manager, Fozia Sarwar, has been working at the charity for more than a decade and said the busiest times come during the winter months.

SUPPORT: Sharing Voices deputy manager, Fozia Sarwar, has been working at the charity for more than a decade and said the busiest times come during the winter months.

Fozia Sarwar is the Deputy Manager of Sharing Voices Bradford and has worked alongside members for 11 years.

Through her experience as a ‘support worker’, she has seen thousands of people pass through the doors and urges anybody who may feel like they are facing a difficult time in their life to pay a visit.

“For the past decade we have found that the mental health issues do follow seasonal trends,” she said. “Research shows that people around the Christmas time become really isolated and if they are mentally distressed they become quite subdued and miss their families.

“It is certainly our busiest period and we are always happy to help anybody. Nobody should have to face these problems alone so it is crucial to have somewhere like this where people can go and talk about their emotional distress openly, and return to a bit of normality.”

Saving Voices Bradford work in partnership with BME communities and specialise in promoting inclusion in all spheres of civil life.

There are gender orientated support groups, children groups and young adult groups, all of which are co-ordinated by fully trained community development workers.

Ms Sarwar explained how everybody deals with their issues differently and therefore an open approach to care is taken with all members.

“We have volunteer opportunities with a number of organisations for people who may be looking for something to do during the day whilst we are also more than happy just to lend an ear to members who just need to talk to somebody,” she said.

“There have been so many mental health users who have been written off by the system, come here and resolved a lot of their issues.”

Sharing Voices is located at Clifton House in Bradford with more information available at www.sharingvoices.org.uk.

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