ARTS & MINDS GLOBAL
WHAT IS ARTS & MINDS GLOBAL?
Arts & Minds Global is a mental health and arts initiative that uses arts and innovation alongside mental health experts to destigmatize the approach and attitudes towards mental health in BAME communities in the UK, as well as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh & South Asia (or wider).
Arts & Minds was an idea that Alchemy Arts CEO Adil had been exploring for some time, but the initiative really started gaining some momentum when he attended a leadership programme (Common Purpose) in 2018 and developed a strong friendship with individuals from the Pakistani diaspora who shared the same passion and ethos of using innovation and clinical expertise to bring about real change.
Alchemy Arts had prior experience and success in delivering mental-health related arts projects aimed at engaging BME communities, and as a result of some of our findings from our Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies Project that we delivered in conjunction with Manchester Council, we found that many individuals and family members in the British and Ethnic Minorities (BME) community were not gaining the appropriate culturally specific or sensitive support which was vitally needed in the community.
This was leading to mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and in some cases, suicide. We also found there to be a link between substance misuse and mental health so felt that it was important that we created an innovative project that would take a holistic approach in supporting individuals from our community.
WHY IS OUR PROJECT NEEDED?
We have a strong relationship with a variety of local BME organisations across Greater Manchester and Trafford for over eight years now. During this time we became aware of a lack of culturally specific or appropriate activities for individuals living in the area, which in turn created a culture of isolation, disconnect and people feeling unsupported.
The most radical reason though, that we know our project or initiative is needed is.. ..we listen, to the people who are the most vulnerable and in need. Local residents spoke of a lack of understanding and access to information. To back this up the research carried out by national public health has suggested that ‘western approaches to mental health treatment are often unsuitable and culturally inappropriate to the needs of BME communities.’
BME communities are not gaining the right support from services because of the huge atmosphere of denial when discussing mental health and wellbeing. Conditions such as schizophrenia, anxiety and depression are often unrecognised or not diagnosed. BME people tend to view the individual in a holistic way, as a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual being.
The Mental Health Foundation found that those from black and minority ethnic groups living in the UK are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems, more likely to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital, more likely to experience a poor outcome from treatment and more likely to disengage from mainstream mental health services, leading to social exclusion and a deterioration in their mental health. Therefore, there is a clear need to tackle mental health issues using culturally sensitive methods.
SUPPORTING THE NHS
Recently there has been a recognition that involving people in local community initiatives can improve their mental and physical health. This movement, known as ‘social prescribing’ has gained a lot of traction lately. NHS England have put forward funding for GPs and communities to use community services to address needs in a holistic way. Individuals are now being supported through services that can be accessed via their GPs to combat mental and physical distress and promote wellbeing.