A South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust worker will today pick up a national award for making a difference to the lives of Asian people with mental health problems in the Dewsbury area.
Aboobaker Bhana, a development worker from Priestley Unit, Dewsbury District Hospital beat applicants from across the country to win the ‘Making a difference’ category of the Positive Practice awards. Over 400 people entered the awards, which are organised by NIMHE (the national institute for mental health in England).
In the eight years he’s worked for the NHS, Aboo has helped to transform the lives of many people with mental health problems from the Asian community in North Kirklees.
Having grown up in the Dewsbury area, Aboo has used his personal experience and local contacts to break down barriers between the Asian community and mental health services and ensure that the views of the Asian community are listened to.
Aboo has set up many groups including the Asian men’s group – which meets twice a month at the Al Hikmah centre, and develops member’s confidence and wellbeing through activities such as football.
One of the many people Aboo has helped is Yakub Rawat. Yakub says, "Aboo has personally helped me a lot, he encouraged me to join the Asian men’s group and other groups. He’s helped me into paid employment – now I work for Cloverleaf Advocacy. It all started from the Asian Men’s group – it’s like a stepping stone into other things. Aboo has grown up in this community so we all know him and feel comfortable with him – he has given us all lots of help and encouragement."
Aboo says, "I’m delighted to win this award, and although it’s an individual award I think it’s been a team effort. I’ve received help and support from many people such as managers, colleagues, people who use services and the local community. I’m really pleased that my work has been recognised in this way. Throughout all my work I try to value each individual’s contribution, respect people and their opinions and include everyone regardless of their background. We all need to work together to be able to improve services and make a difference."
Aboo will receive £2,000 to spend on his service at a special awards ceremony which takes place today (Thursday 23 November) at Chelsea Football Club.