24 April 2017

New project seeks to boost the mental health and wellbeing of BAME elders


Oasis-Talk project with BAMEA new project in Bristol is seeking to understand the barriers and stigma that some Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) older people encounter when talking about mental health. Through the pilot, people aged 50+ are also able to access free mental health groups and counselling in their community language, if English is not their first language.

One in five older people are affected by depression, and this number increases among BAME communities. NHS studies have shown that older people who access psychological therapies are not only more likely to complete their treatment but have higher rates of recovery from depression. Despite this, the take up of free counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy available through the NHS is much lower for older people compared to those of working age.

The Elders Project, led by Oasis-Talk - part of BMH's Wellbeing Therapy Services - and funded by Bristol Ageing Better, is hoping to better understand the reasons behind BAME older people not accessing the help available to them. Shazia Riaz, Elders Community Worker at Oasis-Talk, will be visiting local community groups and encouraging people to talk about any experiences they have had of low mood, anxiety or sleeplessness. People will also be encouraged to share their encounters with mental health services in Bristol and how these could be improved.

Through the project, older people who may benefit from some support will be able to access a choice of wellbeing services from local organisation Nilaari. These services will be culturally appropriate and delivered in the first language of the older person where possible.

"Oasis-Talk is fully committed to understanding and reducing any barriers to people getting support for their mental health. We will work directly with diverse communities across Bristol, listening to their experiences and together design more user-friendly services for older people.

"We encourage anyone wishing to share their experiences to get in touch," says Vicki Palmer, CEO of Oasis-Talk.

Anyone wishing to take part in the project or find out more can contact Shazia Riaz on 0117 970 9423. The pilot project will run until July 2017.

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