“I had previously run some music and singing classes in the community via SAA (South Asian Arts). I was sent an email about IN:CHARGE and asked if I’d be interested. It was to make me more aware and recognise people who may be going through mental health issues. The course really opened my eyes; and I started to look at things in a different way. Just coming together with this group of people opened my eyes. A lot of them were suffering these issues. And seeing them face their struggles and do this course was amazing. I thought the whole project was fantastic. Towards the end of it we had got so much out of it; we didn’t want to finish! That was the start of CHUMHI for us.
I experienced mental health issues in different parts of my life. I hadn’t even considered it like that prior to the course. But it made me realise what I went through and how difficult it actually was. I don’t want anyone to go through the same without any support. That’s the reason I’m doing this.”
Touchstone provides a range of innovative services to improve the health and wellbeing of culturally diverse communities in our city. Their Leeds Fund Strategic Grant enabled them to provide an intensive 24 week mental health coaching programme called IN:CHARGE, specifically for Black, Minority and Ethnic individuals in East Leeds with lived experience of mental health issues. The project saw a number of individuals become fully trained mental health coaches for their communities, building their leadership and employability skills, and helping to reduce stigma and raise awareness among local people.
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