A brand new project has been launched in Leeds to help people with mental health problems overcome their condition.
Set up by Hamara, and funded by ‘Time to Change’, the ‘Khushi project’ works with volunteers who have lived experience of mental health issues be it individually or as a carer for a loved one.
Whether it is experience with stress, depression, post-natal depression, bi-polar, or anything to do with mental health; the project allows people affected by these often debilitating conditions to make ‘social contact’ through ‘meaningful conversations’.
The phrase ‘Social Contact’ refers to a conversation between someone with experience of mental health problems and with someone without, discussing the challenges faced by the prior.
Meeting someone who is open about their experiences and having the chance to ask questions, is something the Khushi project utilises to make people think twice about commonly held stereotypes.
Hamara will be working closely with partner agencies in order to engage with individuals from the public who have little or no experience of mental health in an attempt to change attitudes towards the issue and to challenge stigma and discrimination.
By providing a service that will help improve public attitudes and behaviour towards mental health issues, the Khushi project aims to reduce the number of people facing stigma and discrimination in relation to their mental health.
Everyone has mental health – A ‘good mental health day’ may be a day whereby you are feeling happy, positive and energetic, whilst a ‘bad mental health day’ may be someone feeling upset, not wanting to socialise. The term ‘mental health’ itself, is seen as negative.
Other kinds of mental health illnesses are OCD (obseessive compulsive disorder), self harm and eating disorders. Having any kind of mental illness is not something to be embarrassed about or feel ashamed about.
It is a serious topic to be discussed because some people often lose their lives due to lack of support from family or because they are seen to be possessed by an evil spirit and are taken to a ‘priest/molvi’ to have the spirit/jinn exorcised.
Khushi will stimulate open debate and discussion about mental health problems for the first time in the south Asian community in Yorkshire.
The project is working in partnership with South Asian Arts (SAA-uk), an organisation that uses and performs traditional and contemporary Indian Music and Dance.
‘Time to Change’ is England’s biggest programme to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The programme is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief.
Anyone who has experienced anything like stress, depression, or grievance of a loved one, and would like to make a difference and challenge negative preceptions are encouraged to get in touch with the project.
If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer they should contact
Tayba on 0113 249 7762