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The Bradford District Mental Health Strategy

The Born in Bradford project - a health-focused longitudinal study that tracks the lives of thousands of families in Bradford
The Bradford District Mental Health Strategy has been around for quite a number of years. I think they’ve recently had a review of it because it was set up for five years initially, and then they’ve reviewed it and now it’s carrying on. But within that, the service provision is being looked at. So it’s not just provided by the strategy sector, the voluntary and community sector contributing to it, and they are being commissioned by the Central Commissioning Group. So within that I think it’s looking at how to take services, service provision, out to communities so that we’re kind of minimising those access to barriers and it’s appropriate service provision that’s tailored to community needs.
So all of the things that I’ve spoken about previously sort of have links to that as well. And that I think is unique to this city as well because I think there’s also a statistic that’s proposed, it’s that only 10% of healthcare is actually accessed through healthcare. So that leaves questions about where the other 90% is coming from and how it’s being accessed. And it’s because it’s a huge difference. So it’s my personal view, point of view on this is that it’s
the community, voluntary sector, self-help groups, peer support groups and the social and community networks that people have, and that’s how they’re accessing health. So, you know, and that’s probably where the bulk of the work is being done.
Asma: When you say accessing health, you what do you mean, accessing health care? All kind of health care. I think, I mean, obviously there’s services that only hospitals and clinics, GPS clinics, etc. can provide. But then there’ll be alternative health care, which people are looking at. So in terms of mental health, for example, people are using the organisations are catering for BME communities, but there’s also groups say for example, the concept of dhikr, which Muslim communities use as a traditional way of making a spiritual kind of connection to Allah. And I think people are accessing those kind of groups as well.
And also, you know, other small pockets of groups which probably not advertise, maybe Done within family settings or, you know, links with people who know each other. But I’ve heard that goes on as well. So I’m kind of thinking, well, is this where people are going for that kind of help? If that makes sense.
Asma: Yeah, it does. It does. So health care promotion and looking after ones wellbeing doesn’t just happen within institutional or organisational settings, it happens in everyday lives and I think what you’re describing is that Muslim communities have the ability and the functions within them to provide that for themselves. Yes, I think self-care in itself as well is not a new concept in Islam. Again, in the concepts of Amaanath and Hayanath, which health is one of the gifts from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala [the most glorified, the most high] for Muslims.
And it’s kind of an obligation, an obligation upon Muslims to look after their health and wellbeing and where it’s not being looked after, that’s where the concept of Hayanath comes in, which is a betrayal of that Amaanath. So those are kind of strongly ingrained into people’s thinking as well, well you’ve heard people saying, you’ve heard of the terminology healthy is wealth, but within the Muslim concept, there’s that extra where you will be responsible for what You, you know, what you’ve done in terms of inflicting whatever on to your body and mind.
So there are strong concepts like that as well, which I think help people, which are kind of ingrained into people’s psyche and help people to steer the course of life and how they look after themselves.
Asma: What are your views on mainstream mental health support provision for Muslims? I think traditionally they’ve probably not done as well as they could have done, but now things are progressing and changing and I think it also depends on where you are situated. So in a city like Bradford, for example, where there is ample provision within the statutory services but also to complement it, there’s enough out in the community as well, which is catering for different needs, different communities. And the way they’re working in, you know, collaboration, which is that’s good as well because I think they can both, you know, they can learn from each other as well, as well as complementing each other they can learn.
And ultimately that’s going to have an impact on how service provision is sort of spread across the district and how it’s delivered and the outcomes of it but I know this is just one city in a nation. So it’s, there may be other things going on elsewhere which possibly replicate it or maybe need to look at the model and think maybe this is how we should be doing it, too.
Asma: So would you on the basis of all of your expertise, would you consider that the framework is something of a good example of good practice perhaps? The mental health strategy? I think it is, yes. And it has considered the communities that are here in this city, in this district, and it’s kind of the plan is how to cater for them, how to provide that service that’s adequate and is timely and
I think that’s something that other…

The Born in Bradford project is a health-focused longitudinal study that tracks the lives of thousands of families in Bradford.

Find out more about the project using the link below.

The video is presented by Aamnah Rahman. Aamnah is Research Fellow on the Born in Bradford project, based at the Braford Institute for Health Research in the North of England.

Aamanah believes that most ‘healthcare’, including mental health support and the promotion of better mental health, is accessed through informal social networks and voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations – and not through statutory service providers such as the NHS.

In this step, Aamnah describes the Bradford District Mental Health Strategy (link below), which sets out collaborative working between the statutory sector (NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and Bradford Council) and VCS organisations to promote mental health and provide support services for local communities in the district. Aamanah thinks that collaboration and co-learning between the statutory sector and VCS can have a positive impact on support services for mental health problems and that this strategy is an example of good practice for other British cities.


Born in Bradford Project.

Mental wellbeing in Bradford district and Craven: a strategy 2016-2021. Bradford Council.

Over to you

Can you think of one benefit to statutory and voluntary and community organisations working together? Can you think of any drawbacks or challenges to this approach to mental health support? Share your ideas below.

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Understanding Mental Health in Muslim Communities

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