Harrow Mental Health Directory
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About the Campaign
Translated Booklets
Mind Signpost Booklet
Mind in Harrow
Harrow Mental Health Directory
  Peoples Journeys  
Why explore religion, spirituality and mental health?
Christian Peoples
Jewish populations
People from South Asia
African Caribbean communities
Somali Community
People from Iran
People from Afghanistan
  Why explore religion, spirituality & mental health?  

People who have been forced into migration from their country of origin, or from the place where their ancestors are buried, may be more at risk of experiencing episodes of stress, anxiety or mental ill health. Forced migration may occur as the result of war or trauma, or holding beliefs which are incompatible with a country’s ruling parties, and may result in imprisonment or discrimination. Living away from the support of extended family and friends increases social isolation, even for those who migrate by choice.

Religious and spiritual practices are often important aspects of daily life for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, as they support social cohesion and cultural memories. They may help people find meaning in life. People do not necessarily leave their beliefs and practices at the port of entry into UK. Religion may play an important role in many peoples’ health and well being. When people feel anxious or upset, they may visit the church or synagogue, mosque or temple, for solace.

The problem is, mental distress among any community may be seen as a sign of weakness. It is stigmatised and people remain silent about it, or they may develop physical symptoms instead of emotional ones. The concept of ‘mental health’ itself may be alien, and the offer of counselling with a stranger may seem odd. First and subsequent generation migrants may have differing expectations for their mental well being.

In some societies religious practitioners hold a key role in performing rituals to heal mental distress. In certain places, religious and medical practitioners work together: the priest or imam offering the appropriate prayers, and the medical doctor offering the relevant treatment options.

This booklet has three aims:

  • To signpost culturally appropriate treatment for BME populations in Harrow, both from the statutory and voluntary sectors.
  • To offer a brief summary of the history of migration of various populations residing in Harrow
  • To offer inspiration through a selection of religious texts, that may help any person’s mental well-being.