Message from Project Lead Saleha Khanom I am so excited to introduce 'Our Minds Matter' (OMM) to Bedford, a new mental health charity which aims to break stigma surrounding mental health with a special focus on including faith & culture.
We truly believe based on substantial research based evidence that culture and spirituality plays an incredibly important role in our perception, attitudes and relationship with MH, since these 2 aspects form such important parts of our identity, therefore shapes our outlook of the world. And so it is only correct that we include these crucial dynamics as an essential part in the discussion regarding Mental Health & Well-being, prevention and indeed the recovery process - for too long, it has been left as a mere 'option' and a 'side discussion' when infact it should be offered to be included as part of the main discussion from the onset (if this is ofcourse something which individuals themselves hold valuable or take inspiration as their guiding principles in life)!
The Luton branch has been running very successfully for a whole year now and has had fantastic response from the community, CCG, mental health services etc.with an excellent launch event at the University of Bedfordshire back in Feb 2017.. They have held many workshops about MH in different communities that reflect the demographics of Luton i.e Mental Health in the African-Caribbean Community, Mental Health in the South-Asian Community, Mental Health in the Polish community etc. Our Luton Team ( have worked so tirelessly to get recognised and have rightly so received very good support in return..
So we feel after many months of planning & thought, it is now finally time to follow this same successful model and introduce a Bedford branch as it is so very essential that we bring about positive change in the field of mental health- so many have expressed frustration, concern and even hopelessness at times regarding services, lack of cultural and spiritual element/value given to the healing/treatment process by MH services/professionals, negative and harmful attitudes in the community / families, mental health carers, lack of therapy options, support groups etc - so we believe this educational innovative charity will be a really good drive and force for positive lasting change.
The mind and intellect is the most powerful thing, if we can help contribute to transforming the way to approach MH as a people, as a society, then it would be truly a great great achievement! But change takes time, patience, perseverance and a whole lot of faith!
We will have an info stall, pics, sweets, interactive activities to get you thinking and us listening to what you would like from us, what kind of workshops you would like to see, and volunteer recruitment etc. So please come by and say hello and look out for our logo. We especially welcome volunteers from a psychiatric/psychological/social/education/public service/finance/bidding-funding applications background who has an interest and passion for mental health & wellbeing. We currently have; A public health / Carers practitioner, Bedford Community Activist, Uni Chaplain, Ex-Psychiatrist/ Counsellor, Hospital Edu-training staff, PCSO, trade union staff and 2 service users. We have representatives of; Bangladeshi, English, French, Indian, Pakistani, Zimbabwe cultures. And faiths represented on team; Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Methodist Christian, Pentecostal, Bahai, Spiritual, Non-religious members on the team.
We want this group to be as representative of our diverse Bedford community so everyones perspective of MH from their cultural and faith context can be addressed. So we are really looking for the following gaps in faith and cultures to be filled in our team (can be a past/present MH service user, carer, professional or anyone with work experience in relevant field, or with a genuine interest & commitment to mental health) ;
Cultures/ethnicity; Caribbean / West-Indies East African Afghan Italian Romanian Polish Arab Faiths; Jewish Catholic
Ideally if people could be fluent in the language/s of their ethnic background- that would be a bonus as we will be looking to hold workshops in local languages to make it accessible to everyone. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info/express interest if you're unable to make it today!