Activities of the year 2005
- Category: Narrative and Financial Report 2005
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS & SUPPORT FOR CENTRAL AFRICAN REFUGEES
Overall progress made to date on objective one:
Mental Awareness Campaigns have been successful in this project. These campaigns aimed at maximising service users' opportunity to reflect on their personal concerns. This was a valuable opportunity for victims of mental health to reflect on their circumstances within a broader understanding of the field in order for them to find out what necessary should be done to help cope with the situation in which they are torn apart. Many Africans currently living in the West Midlands, experience disturbances in mood, thought or behaviour.
Based on practical concerns of African refugees & asylum seekers at this particular moment, it was accepted in plenary that this project should focus on supporting refugee victims of mental health problem through public education, and advocacy for, human rights in the lights of immigration laws and these should go shoulder to shoulder with mental health therapy. The following are programs which have been launched since October to address service users' concerns: Aromatherapy, victims' groups, allotment gardening, keep fit (gentle), self help groups, games, badminton, knitting/sewing, one-to-one discussions, relaxation, creative art, mental health awareness drama, swimming, crafts, managing stress assertiveness social activities, outings to reduce mental health problems. The project effort was to initiate programmes like art therapy, hospital/health centre visits, counselling, and post-traumatic stress disorder management. Practical skills like basic cooking, leisure, computer, legal advice, art and craft were ultimately targeted accordingly to enable victims of mental illness to recover from assaults on their mental health and to develop the skills necessary to achieve greater self-reliance and be integrated in the community as before.
In its final stage, the project brought to light how the service users have been served and some of the victims have given their testimonies as how effective and efficient this project was for their relieve. A number of relaxation tapes and information leaflets dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, Alzheimer's disease, bipolar disorder (manic depression), schizophrenia/ psychosis management have been prepared, both in English/French and some African languages like Swahili to facilitate quick access Volunteer carers were assigned to meet with service users regularly to ensure their needs were met. We also offered some benefits and welfare rights advice, information and support.
Organised events per date:
- 30/11/2004: Visit to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BM & AG)
- 16/12/2004: meeting Amnesty International/ Bounville
- 21/01/2005: Relaxation exercise, Selly Oak
- 28/01/2005: Outing in country side to meet farmers
- 24/02/2005: visit to BM & AG
- 30/05/2005: Foot ball
SATURDAY HOMEWORK CLUB
Overall progress made to date on objective two:
Membership contribution money has provided for the Secretary to develop a Saturday Homework Club (SHC), a practically family learning environment club of both primary and secondary schools activities in Smethwick, a deprived area. Evaluation has shown that parents' confidence and skills have improved, that they are helping children with their homework and spending more time sharing books with them.