The Amaan project raised awareness of the mental health needs of asylum-seeking and refugee women in Glasgow.
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The project was funded by Comic Relief and the Lankelly-Chase Foundation and was led by the Mental Health Foundation working in partnership with the Scottish Refugee Council and Freedom from Torture. It was based on the findings and recommendations emerging from the Sanctuary project work with asylum seekers and refugees in Glasgow over the last few years. The project started in September 2011 and ended in September 2014.
The aims of the project were to:
- raise awareness of mental health promotion amongst refugee and asylum seeking women
- decrease the levels of mental distress and mental health problems amongst refugee and asylum seeking women
- increase help seeking amongst refugee and asylum seeking women experiencing or at risk of developing mental health problems
- raise awareness of the mental health needs of and trauma experienced by refugee and asylum seeking women amongst those working in the wide range of services they come into contact with
- improve the responsiveness of services to the mental health needs of refugee and asylum seeking women
- reduce the risk of interaction with services compounding the effects of trauma they may already have experienced.
The aims of the project were achieved through:
- Focus group research with asylum seeking and refugee women
Learning about the key issues for women in terms of the relationships between their mental wellbeing, their experiences before and after leaving their country of origin, their status, environment and those around them, in particular their contact with professionals in the UK.
- Free staff training
To support those working in organisations that come into contact with asylum seeking and refugee women to better understand and respond to their mental health needs and to reduce the risk of contact with services here compounding the effects of pre-existing trauma.
- Community conversations for asylum seeking and refugee women
The community conversations involved working with asylum seeking and refugee women to increase their awareness of mental health improvement and wellbeing, to raise awareness of when and how to seek help. The sessions were educational, participative and aimed to empower those attending. They focused on: concepts of mental wellbeing and illness, causes of this, recovery, stigma, fear and help seeking.