Finding and Accessing Mental Health Services

Finding and Accessing Mental Health Services
In April 2023 the Cha in the City Open Group for Punjabi men met virtually to discuss the topic of Finding and Accessing mental health services are some reflections from the brilliant team who facilitate and contribute towards those conversations.

This month the online forum topic for discussion was ‘Finding and Accessing Mental Health Services’ this was a topic for discussion with varying aspects to discuss including the experience of forum members.

As usual there were some questions to guide the discussion on the topic, although the questions are posed to support the discussions, the conversations often are led by the participants. The questions this month that were offered included - Have you had difficulty accessing mental health services? Have services been culturally aware? Have you accessed a service that you found particularly helpful?

The conversations were an opportunity to reflect on the participants experiences and knowledge of services, it also brought up the conversations about general accessibility and the challenges that can be experienced. It was acknowledged by the group that there are several different access points, and they vary across the country and include both statutory and non-statutory services. There was the issue raised about the challenges of accessing services for people that perhaps are not technology savvy as well as issues such as cultural and language barriers.

We talked about the services are very much around the expectation of people going to them rather being embedded in our communities where they can reach out to support. Although there were examples offered by participants that had experienced the reaching out and support offer from services.  The issue around culturally aware and culturally specific services offer was also discussed, and it appears this is very much a luck of the draw experience unless privately funded, although there are opportunities within the systems for this to be provided that is not widely known.

Whilst there was conversations and examples of challenges there were also positive stories shared and about the opportunities such as the forums to discuss and improve mental health awareness.

The topic allowed for many differing contributions from those who participated, and the quality of the discussion was very much delivered by the diversity of participants.

The forums are a great safe place to explore issues that have an impact either directly or indirectly to our wellbeing. Participating in the facilitated spaces are a great opportunity to share and hear about a range of subjects, and we are always keen to hear from participants about subjects for future forums.

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