Learning from BAME Wellbeing Projects
A case study from Oasis-Talk who run our BAME Wellbeing project with a number of different organisations.

About the project:

The project was created to address some of the barriers encountered by BAME communities accessing NHS services for psychological wellbeing.

There are several reasons why BAME communities cannot easily access services available such as:

  • A lack of knowledge of what services are available
  • Language & cultural barriers
  • Lack of awareness around mental health
  • General stigma associated with talking about mental health.

 

How are older people involved in the project?

Older people have been central in designing the BME Wellbeing project from the beginning. Oasis-Talk first consulted the groups and project partners about the needs of their communities and the groups then decided on the topics they wanted to be delivered in the sessions; where and when the session would be held – effectively designing the programme of delivery by themselves.

Furthermore, each project partner has been consulted regularly throughout the project as well as  been involved in partnership meetings to decide the plans for the next quarter. Feedback has been directly gained from participants at the wellbeing sessions by the therapists and the project managers. For example, Oasis-Talk are in the process of translating the topics discussed in the groups following feedback from participants. Participants also recently requested more in-depth sessions focused on how to cope with grief, loss and bereavement with Oasis-Talk responding by planning new courses specifically around these subjects.

Additionally, Oasis-Talk will be hosting a celebration event in February, at the request of participants who wanted to demonstrate how the project has affected them through storytelling, speeches and presentations.

 

How are older people involved in delivering the project?

During the second phase of the project, participants will be delivering the taster wellbeing sessions themselves to their respective and wider communities after completion of facilitator training and becoming Wellbeing Ambassadors.

 

What challenges have you come across in terms of coproduction / involving older people in the design/delivery/making decisions?

Most challenges have been around logistics and in operational areas. For instance, the difficulties in timetabling sessions around nine partner group preferences and also then finding a therapists to fulfil these preferences alongside their other work commitments.

Another challenge has been that most of the project partners are voluntary and so have limited resources and require substantial amounts of support to complete evaluation forms which are perceived as lengthy and repetitive.

What have you learnt and what would you say to others interested in setting up similar projects?

Older people have such a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise that is sadly under utilised in our society. Every project should consult with older people in designing their projects because they can offer so much and can really help make a project successful.

Some tips are:

  • A lot of older people prefer to be contacted in person , in smaller groups or one to one.
  • Take time with as many individuals as you can because this adds value for them in so many ways especially if they are isolated or lonely. So for example instead of calling them, go and see them in person, this will mean a lot to them and it will provide you with so much more insight too.
  • Take the time to know your group and sometimes it may take time to build trust AND persevere! it will give great results. Remember the little things!

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