Mental health

Mental health

When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information – about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues – is vital.

Shpresa programme works in partnership with a number mental health providers to address the mental health amongst the Albanian community. Our model of mental health is 

  1. Build partnerships with Specialist institution to address the need 
  2. Decide the place to run the joined service and for the mental health is better to start at the community based where the members get help, support and feel welcomed and familiar with the space . Get the specialist come and build relationships with the client via 121 intervention, information workshops, trainings, seminars or conferences 
  3. Train mental health champions  to keep safety and metal health at the heart of everything we do 
  4. Find a solution for all via building partnerships and campaigning 

Our mental health strategic partners currently are :

Manor gardens centre 

Croydon drop in in 

Mind Tower Hamlet and Newham  

Alternatives Trust East London 

We were actively involved at South London Citizens mental health campaign   


There’s nothing unusual or shameful about mental illness. Most of us have problems at some time in our lives, such as money worries, stress at work or the death of a loved one, which can affect our mental health. Find out how to recognise the signs and where to go for help.

In a few cases, the effect can be serious and long-lasting. Around a quarter of all GP visits are for a mental health problem, usually anxiety. 

But people from African and African Caribbean communities, including those of white and black mixed ethnicity, can face additional problems that may affect their mental health.

Everyday life has a big impact on mental health, and black communities in the UK are still more likely than others to experience problems such as bad housing, unemployment, stress and racism, all of which can make people ill.

Kathryn Hill of the Mental Health Foundation says many people don’t trust health services. “Lots of people won’t use health services until they’re very unwell because they’re frightened of what will happen. This means they’re more likely to be in worse health by the time they do seek help,” she says.

Worldwide, it seems that people who move from one country to another have a higher risk of mental illness. This is especially true for black people who move to predominantly white countries, and the risk is even higher for their children.

While mental illness is no more common in Africa or the Caribbean than it is in the UK as a whole, it is a bigger problem for African and African Caribbean communities living in the UK.

That means that looking after your mental health, as well as your family’s and friends’, is important, so you need to know who to speak to if things go wrong.

Where to go for mental health help

“If you’re worried, seek help as soon as possible,” says Kathryn. Getting good care early can make a big difference. If you know something’s not right, don’t pretend that everything is OK. There are many people who can help, but the NHS is usually the best place to start.

The NHS is there for everyone, and its mental health services should meet everyone’s needs equally well. They may be able to put you in touch with organisations outside the NHS that can help.

Either way, you’re entitled to a service that treats you as an individual, respects your culture and faith, and can help you if English isn’t your first language.

Talk to your GP first. GPs aren’t just there for your physical health – they also have experience in helping people with mental health problems and can refer you to specialist services.

If you don’t have a GP, register with one – find a GP near you. If you need to talk to someone urgently, you can call:

NHS 111

SANE: 0845 767 8000 (6pm-11pm, every day)

Samaritans: 0845 790 9090

Read more about where to go for mental health help.

Protecting your mental health

“Keeping your mind and body healthy can help,” says Kathryn. “This includes eating welldrinking alcohol in moderation and getting enough exercise.  “

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises that, for mild to moderate depression, exercise can be more effective than antidepressants. GPs can refer you for exercise therapy.

“Exercise, staying healthy and talking therapies can also help with anxiety and more serious mental illness,” says Kathryn.

Help from friends and family

If you have a family member or friend with a mental illness, be supportive. Keep in touch with them and make sure they know they can talk to you if they want to.

“Remember that most people with mental illness are not violent,” says Kathryn. “Let your friend know you’re there, but also keep boundaries.” You can’t be their counsellor, but let them know you’ll help them access the support they need.

There’s more information on mental health and wellbeing, as well as how to get help and support, on the following pages:

emotional health  

mental health 


counselling and talking therapies 

For more information on supporting a friend with mental illness, see the Mental Health Foundation’s leaflet Keeping Us Going (PDF, 736kb). See original on NHS Choices  

If you need help dont suffer in silence, contact us today.

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