Mental Health awareness morning held in Oldham

Date published: 04 February 2019

A scheme in Oldham, designed to care, help and inspire women, is raising awareness of mental health issues.

The Werneth CHAI Project has partnered with Dr Yasir Abbasi to discuss the causes of mental health problems.

They also raise awareness of women’s wellbeing and ensure mothers are better equipped to make a difference to their children, themselves and the community.

There are currently five CHAI groups running across Oldham and they have carried out projects on a local, national and international level.

Statistics show that one in five people become depressed at some point in their lives.

Guest Speaker Dr Yasir Abbasi talked in both English and Urdu explaining what can cause mental health problems – for example, life circumstances, trauma, addictions, chemicals in the brain, and sometimes no reason whatsoever.

Dr Abbasi then went on to discuss the different types of mental health problems adults and children suffer, the signs and symptoms, how they should be treated and how they can support one another.

Many interactive discussions took place around mental health, myths, stigma, depression, psychosis, post-natal depression, dementia, and types of services available.

The feedback from the audience was that they felt by attending the session they now understood mental health problems like depression better, and what to do if they or someone they knew suffered from it.

The group was left feeling inspired to make a difference.

Dr Yasir Abbasi is a Consultant Psychiatrist and the Clinical Director for Addiction Services at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool.

He is also the founding Trustee of PAIN Charity. He was short listed as the ‘Communicator of the Year 2017’ by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

He has wide range of expertise in mental health and addiction problems. He has widely published in scientific journals and newspapers and has appeared on various media outlets in the UK as well.

Jackie from Werneth Primary School said: “The parents who attended spoke openly and honestly about their own understanding and experiences of mental health illnesses.

“They discussed the stigmas that can be associated with mental illness, the importance of seeking professional help for mental illnesses, and ways to improve their own mental and physical health.

“By the end of the meeting many parents felt they had a better understanding of mental health and understood the importance of looking after their own mental health.”

Najma Khalid founder and director of Women’s CHAI Project said: “Werneth Primary School not only provides fantastic education for its children but also supports the parents.

“The Werneth CHAI Project is a huge success and has already impacted so many lives. 

“Mental health problems are on the increase, both men and women are suffering in silence and are not getting the right support, we hope to encourage our parents to access appropriate services and look after their wellbeing, we are honoured that Dr Yasir Abbasi who is an amazing inspirational man came to talk to Oldham Parents.”

Dr Yasir Abbasi added: “It was a pleasure to be able to engage at grass root level to increase the awareness around mental health problems and to help reduce stigma.

“In the UK one in four people will experience mental health problems each year, if we want to reduce the level of morbidity and improve outcomes, we have to ensure people are aware that the mind just like the body can get tired, slowed down and become unwell.”

Katie Malley, Assistant Principal at Werneth Primary School said: “Najma has been a really valuable member of the Werneth Team and we are delighted to be working with her.

“Her CHAI group has supported our mums with building their confidence and developing good relationships with both school and other parents in the community.

“We are very much looking forward to continuing the good work Najma is doing and supporting our parents to best support their children.”