SEVEN voluntary and community organisations are to share a £20,000 NHS England grant aimed at supporting the mental health of people from Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities (BAMER) this winter.
Berkshire West CCG secured the funding and is working with Reading Voluntary Action, Involve (Wokingham) and Volunteer Centre West Berkshire to distribute the funding.
The projects will tackle issues include mental health, psychological access and well-being within BAMER communities, with an emphasis on being culturally sensitive.
Other projects will look at providing support to BAMER carers looking after a loved one, and helping younger people.
Those benefiting include the Reading Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality, Autism Berkshire, Community United (a West Berkshire organisation), Reading Community Learning Centre, Sport in Mind, Time to Talk, (a West Berkshire group), and the Reading Refugees Support group.
Niki Cartwright, Director of Joint Commissioning at Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “People’s mental health has taken a real hit during the pandemic.
“Those who are struggling often find winter especially challenging with the dark days and poor weather which limit their opportunities to get outside and do many of the things we know can help improve our mental health and wellbeing.
“Mental health services have been running throughout the pandemic but there has been a marked dip in referrals which is why the work of these seven groups is so important to help people who desperately need some support. I’m very pleased this funding has been earmarked for such a diverse range of really excellent projects.”
Mental health support
There is a range of other support for people with mental health problems. This includes:
- NHS talking therapies are a confidential service run by fully trained experts offering help with problems like stress, anxiety and depression. People can access the service by visiting their GP or referring themselves online or ringing 0300 365 2000.
- Young people aged between 11 and 18 can visit KOOTH.com a free, anonymous and confidential online counselling and emotional wellbeing support. And for those over 18 and in urgent need of help, they should ring NHS 111 who will direct them to the right support.
- There is also online support on the NHS mental health and wellbeing link www.nhs.uk and people can also seek help by going online at NHS 111
- In emergency situations or if someone is in immediate danger, people must call 999 straight away.