This summer the Croydon Ethnicity and Mental Health Improvement Project (EMHIP) is set to launch their Community Mental Health Mobile Hubs, a network of local drop-in centres, with a team created to provide culturally aware mental health support for Black and Asian Minority Ethnic communities (BME) in Croydon.
Research shows there are significant inequalities in mental health care across communities in the UK, with BME people having poorer experiences and worse outcomes in care in comparison to white people. EMHIP was initially launched in Wandsworth in 2020 to address these health inequalities and has now been expanded to Croydon to meet the needs of the growing population.
Working as a collaborative partnership between NHS South West London, South London & Maudsley NHS Trust and a local network of BME voluntary, faith and community groups, the partnership aims to directly reduce the inequalities in access, experience and outcome of mental health care faced by ethnic minority communities in Croydon through a series of interventions.
Facilitated by The Croydon BME Forum and Asian Resource Centre Croydon, new hubs across Croydon will be created to kickstart the mental health project this summer.
The community-led project has responded to feedback from resident focus groups, local grass root organisations and the experiences of local people, who highlighted the need for locally accessible, representative, and culturally sensitive mental health support.
Also, understanding that some people can be hesitant to access traditional mental health services, hubs are being created in collaboration with established and trusted community spaces that many residents are already familiar with.
Many of us in the local community have first-hand seen the disparities that exist within mental health care for Black and minoritised communities. The collaborative nature of EMHIP is a brilliant opportunity for us to create system transformation for the health and wellbeing of Croydon residents.Stella Bolt, EMHIP Programme Manager
The mobile team including support workers, a psychiatric nurse and psychologist, all with local knowledge of Croydon’s communities, will establish hubs including places of worship, youth centres, parent and baby groups, barbershops, and community centres where people can come for free support.
It’s hoped that enhancing existing community services to include mental health and wellbeing support will help to destigmatise mental health, and support communities to understand that mental health is an essential part of their well-being — just like a healthy diet, sleep, and exercise.
The hubs will act as an entry point for mental health support by providing face to face information and wellbeing support. Available to confidentially discuss personal circumstances, the team will jointly review ways residents may be able to help themselves or connect with local health and care pathways.
To support the project, faith and community leaders have undertaken Systemic Family Therapy Training to become qualified wellbeing practitioners and help the communities they serve.
It’s hoped this training will enable community leaders to understand mental health and spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues. This community led approach will create the opportunity to advocate for the mental health of BME communities and deliver localised mental health support that is responsive to their needs.