“Active Lives, Healthy Minds” is a mental health and wellbeing project that is being implemented in West London focusing on the Eritrean, Nepalese, Somali and Tamil communities. The project is funded by Reaching Communities - the Big Lottery Fund and aims to improve mental health and the wellbeing of members of the communities and supporting them to increase participation in the development and implementation of relevant mental health and health services in the area.
Members of the Eritrean, Nepalese, Somali and Tamil communities have experienced severe loss and disruption of their lives due to war, civil unrest and natural disaster in their countries of origin, followed by the traumatic experience of flight and then the stress caused by the asylum process and difficulties adapting to new language and cultural settings. The project will assist community groups in developing activities to support the mental health and wellbeing in a culturally sensitive and non stigmatising way.
ROTA is working with Account Trust, the Network of Eritrean Women, Family Care and the Tamil Community Centre to deliver coping and adaptive skills support and training to enable members to better manage their progress towards becoming active citizens. At the end of 2017, The Network of Eritrean Women received a National Lottery Awards for All for £10,000 and joined the project as a partner. This partnership continues into the third and final year of Active Lives, Healthy Minds. Family Care, a Somali organisation, joined the project in January 2019.
Active Lives, Healthy Minds(ALHM) follows on from a previous three year ROTA project called “Healthy Mobilised and BAME” which worked from a baseline whereby service users were engaged and made aware of mental health issues in year one, to building skills and development through year one, two and three to a position where they were more content with their life from their own perspective. The positive outcomes from Healthy Mobilised and BAME and the lessons learnt and tools developed formed the basis of ALHM.
The project will be independently evaluated by the McPin Foundation, with a view to disseminating learning to other refugee communities.