Category Archives: Uncategorized

Outreach on Saturday 22nd Feb 2014 – Deptford

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Day one of our outreach starting conversations with African and Caribbean people was great. For once in a long time is was a sunny day and perfect for outreach. Our community champions got straight into it having conversations in Deptford South London. Firstly debating with a man who did not want to take the leaflets and felt that the scripture (the bible) was the stress relief people should use ‘The world can be a wicked place at times causing depression and stress and for me scripture helps me through this’

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We then traveled along Deptford market speaking to traders and entering community buildings like the Albany and Deptford Lounge. Some welcomed us, some wanted to avoid us and some were silently curious. Our first hairdresser shop was a welcome one and a woman who had her head under a dryer even stopped drying her hair to speak with us. Amy who is one of our Rafiki Champions asked what do people think about when they hear ‘Mental Health’ which for some people caused embarrassment but others were open to talk (even while having their hair braided).
We struck up a conversation with some men who were on the street and they were saying ‘we need to know who we are as black people because if we do not then this is when problems come’

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We continued going into small and larger businesses including tailors, fabric shops, restaurants, barbers, hairdressers, food shops, pharmacies and health centres and on the whole got a welcome response and even managed to sign up some people for our Thursday Wellbeing4Women group. We managed to collect details of around 40 businesses and spoke to over 100 people. We even managed to visit Yemi, one of our champions who has her own enterprise called Cosmic Connections offering a variety of great things like massages and reiki and http://cosmicconnectionstherapy.weebly.com .

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We also bumped into a couple of people who had family members with lived experience and had strong concerns about the medication they were on and the lack of culturally appropriate alternatives for Black people. We were able to talk with them, share information we had and invite them to Rafiki Project. We talked, laughed and were challenged. All in all a great day. Next stop is Peckham and Camberwell on Monday 24th, look out for us in the morning!!

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Wellbeing4Woman Upcoming Topics

13th February – Managing Stress

20th February – Communication Skills

27th February – Managing Challenging Behaviour

6th March        – Relationships

13th March      – Building Confidence and Self Esteem

20th March      – Healthy Eating

Got an idea for a topic or theme you would like to discuss? Why not let us know

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Wellbeing4Woman Group meets every Thursday, 11-2PM

Wellbeing4Woman Group meets every Thursday, 11-2PM

Join us for topical talks, creative expression, and the chance to make new friends on Thursdays at Africa Advocacy Foundation, Catford.

Breaking free from the Truman Show

Really interesting article on BBC news today about young Jonny Benjamin who believed, for ten years, that he was on the Truman Show. This story really struck a bell with me as I remember when I  first watched that film as a child I thought, for a few fleeting moments, wow what if that is my life.? What if my entire life is fake and behind it all there’s cameras and actors just pretending to be my friends and family!?! Similar kind of thing when I watched the Matrix. Anyone remember questioning whether or not we were in the real world?

I can laugh about it now as I’m pretty sure this IS the real world and no-one would really go to such massive effort to film my life, interesting as it may be. But imagine if you became fixated on those thoughts and lived your life with that paranoia.

Jonny’s story made me think for a moment about how easy it is to get thoughts muddled and criss-crossed, and what a profound affect it can have on the lives of the people it happens to. Even everyday things can be triggers and any of us, at any time, can become vulnerable.

The sharing of stories like this, making us aware of experiences so different from our own, are definitely helpful in breaking down boundaries and starting conversations around mental health. Cheers to you Jonny!

By Nayo Hunt

See the link to the full article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-24992984

 

Call for Childrens Mental Health Checks at 7

Our champion Jade found this interesting article on the BBC News website today. Although we are happy with the idea that checks should be made, there is still a feeling that communities and families should have mental health awareness skills. Not only that but that these skills are culturally adapted to meet the needs of these communities. It is important that a screening tool does not become another tick box exercise and something that can meet the needs of both the children, families, teachers and wider society.

Have a read and let us know what you think.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24263452

 

100 great things

I am regular reader of psychologies magazine, have been since I was 17. Admittedly it is what my psychology teacher called ‘pop-psychology’ but I find it good reading and also a chance to indulge a little in the art of self-awareness! Getting to know oneself and one’s personality, strengths, weaknesses inconsistencies and everything in between is a very important part of becoming a rounded, grounded, happy and stable human being. I believe it is essential to mental well-being.

This little thing is one the freebies that came with the magazine which has carved itself a seemingly permanent place on my bed side table. I love the little insights, anecdotes, thoughts and life lessons offered by some of the world’s most influential people including – the Dalai Lama, Sharon Osborne, Jacqueline Wilson and more. I don’t necessarily think these people are inspiring or even knowledgeable because they’re famous. They are people with a talent like all of us. However, undoubtedly they have been through the motions and inevitably they will have things to share that we can learn from. So, in the spirit of treating every person you come across as a teacher, I’m sharing with you a little insight that really stood out to me and that I think you might find useful.

Hilary Mantel, 57, Author

“Arm yourself in advance against the set-backs every life contains. Scan your whole life and list 100 good things: compliments, achievements major and minor. It doesn’t matter if they are things no one else would see as important; they are the things that matter to you. If you meet an obstacle, sit down, take a breath, and read your list. Two things happen. Instantly, you feel better; and the problem, now set in the context of your whole life, seems smaller.”

Would you like me to elaborate? I can, though I will do so briefly as I realise this is a blog not an essay. Hilary Mantel, don’t know who she is or what she writes but I love what she’s said here. Isn’t it so true?! There are so many setbacks in life, people are more than happy to take the opportunity to criticise us and tell us were not good enough. We’re often more than happy to do it to ourselves! I love the idea of walking around with 100 compliments and achievements, a quick intervention in times of crisis. I’m going to write mine now and stick it to the inside of my diary so I never forget that, in the midst of setbacks, failures, lack of self-belief, fear and when I feel like I just have no idea who I am and what my purpose is, my better self can pat me on the back and say ‘hang on a minute, you know that’s not quite true!’

It won’t solve all of our problems but if we can train our minds to focus on the great things about us, then I think it would benefit our well-being endlessly! I hope you’ll join me in getting out the pen and listing 100 great things about YOU!

Nayo Hunt – volunteer

Meet Muna

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My name is Muna I was born in 1986 back in my homeland Somalia. Since then I lived in many different places but settled in London. When I first came to England I moved to Manchester and currently live in London with my husband and two children. I just got accepted at university of Goldsmiths to study education culture and society.

Life to me means friends and family who you can trust and who trust you. I am pretty much on the happy side of life. In my spare time I like doing activities with my children and have ‘me time’ to myself.  Due to my personal keen interest in children’s activities I volunteered to participate in the Bully Free Zone Training Programme which involved the mediation of children from Year Seven to Year Eleven. I have also successfully completed training in Conflict Resolution and Mediation and am currently a Peer Mediator. After I graduate I want to become primary school teacher.

Mental health is something that can affect any individual and it is kind of a stigma in mainstream society so by getting involved I aim to break these social barriers. This project will allow me to expand my own knowledge on the complexities and differences within mental health.

The Voice (Share, don’t suffer in silence) – Yewande Adeluwoye

The Voice

Thoughts and voices, buzzing around in his head
Contemplating what he should do next?
Depression and anxiety, building up in his mind.
Trying to cope with the 9-5 grind.
On the outside successful and has it all,
On the inside raging, outside demeanour cool
Why do I feel like this ?
He continues to ask.
It was the ghosts that haunt him from the distant past.
Childhood neglect, low self esteem and abuse.
Vowed as an adult, will never used.
They say big boys don’t cry.
However he knows this a lie
Too busy to sit down and too busy to be stressed.
Everyone round him, he needs to impress.
The voice inside him, screams out loud.
You have nothing to be ashamed of, you should be proud.
A problem shared, is a problem halved.
So he takes the step and looks through his mobile phone.
Wonders if his best mate is at home.
He takes a deep breathe and begins to dial.
Has been holding all these feelings in for a long while.
“Hi Jamal, is it OK to talk?”
“Furthermore bredren , lets go for a walk”

(Share, don’t suffer in silence)

Yewande Alise Adeluwoye ©

What is the Rafiki Project?

What we are doing?

Rafiki project will bring together people with personal experience of mental health problems and those without experience of mental health problems from African communities to challenge stigma and discrimination. We are recruiting 50 people to train up as community champions to volunteer within African Communities. We are looking for people with lived experience of mental health problems and/or an interest in mental health to train.

Why are we doing it?

We know stigma and discrimination impacts all people but we know within African communities the issues around culture and mental health impact us in a different way. It means that more people from African communities are likely to end up in hospital and less likely to talk about their problems with family and friends. We also know that sometimes when people talk about the problems they have, they may experience discrimination. We think that by getting support earlier can not only prevent mental ill-health from developing but, also support people with mental ill-health through recovery. We want to challenge the stigma that stops us sharing and believe that by sharing experiences both good and bad can help challenge stigma and discrimination around mental health!

How will we do it?

We are looking for a range of people from all backgrounds to play a role in the project. The project is aimed at starting conversations with African Communities so we welcome speakers of other languages. As a Champion you will be expected to attend training over 6 weeks and then commit to a minimum of 30 hours over 6 months which works out at about 5 hours per month and this includes support sessions. If you are not able to make sessions we are happy to be flexible with this and if you would like to become more involved we would welcome this as well.

The champions will then lead and develop community engagement and mental health awareness activities these will include art, poetry & music events and community outreach activities and make links with faith and spiritual groups. The aim is for groups to carry out different activities to engage people from African communities in conversation about mental health.
A weekly peer-support group will provide a space for the Community Champions to share experiences and support each other.

Where next?

If you are interested in registering for the training or joining as a volunteer we would love to hear from you! If English is your second language let us know and we can arrange for someone to translate!

Time to change is the biggest campaign to end mental health stigma and discrimination

Africa Advocacy Foundation is a community based charity that promotes better health, education and other life opportunities for disadvantaged people.

Community Therapies and Training Service are a Social Enterprise based in London, UK. They create healthy minds for healthy lives by supporting people who are experiencing health problems, mental health problems and who are going through life difficulties. By using social innovation they help people feel better, feel happier and lead fulfilled lives by providing community based support, programmes and training.

Naomi Mwasambili
Project Manager – Rafiki Project
African Advocacy Foundation
76 Elmer Road,
Catford,
London SE6 2ER.
Tel: 0208 698 4473

‘The Rafiki project is an exciting new project developed to start conversations with African Communities in South London about Mental Health. Africa Advocacy Foundation delivers the project in partnership with Community Therapies and Training Service. The Rafiki project is funded by Time to Change, 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.