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Khidmat Project

Creative Minds has helped support phase 2 of the Khidmat Project, which the aim was to increase awareness of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the South Asian, Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities of North Kirklees to increase referrals into the Adult ADHD service.

Mental health is a highly sensitive matter for South Asian families and as such, it was key that the approach to the subject must be positive and understanding of cultural and religious beliefs. ADHD in adults is not commonly heard of among these communities and when it is, it is normally associated with children with the belief is that it is outgrown in adulthood. The project introduced to people of North Kirklees the understanding that ADHD can continue into adulthood and that there is a devoted team of health experts to help them.

The project focused on getting support from leaders in the mosques, community centres and the various communities to open doors to the ADHD service to work within the communities.

50 groups in the North Kirklees community that met the target audience were approached to discuss the work and with the view of arranging an informal talk at the groups about ADHD. Of these 26 gave permission to be visited and 9 took part in an informal discussion about the work. One of these was the Milen Day group, which also requested to be visited by the ADHD team. This session was very important as a two way process of sharing information and the group appreciated the team taking time out of their schedule to visit.

To help with the promotion of the work and awareness raising an easy read information leaflet on the adult ADHD service sensitive to cultural issues was created and translated into Urdu for use in the community. An article was also placed in the prominent local newspaper Paigaam and transmissions were made on a local radio broadcast on a Mosque transmitter covering Batley and Dewsbury area.

The project has helped highlight the diverse approach needed by the Adult ADHD service to reach the BME South Asian community in North Kirklees, and even different approaches needed to reach the Indian community and the Pakistani community. The work benefitted from being led by a local person who knows the community, is a practising Muslim and is able to communicate in the communities preferred language. This helped encourage Mosques to take part in the discussions as the project leader was seen to be sensitive to the cultural issues. The ADHD team have benefitted in having someone to promote the service in the South Asian communities and the gap between health professionals on the ADHD team and the general public has been bridged by the project acting as a go-between while educating the ADHD team with the customs and cultures of the community.

Often in the South Asian community, a person who suffers from mental health problems is seen as a person possessed by spirits known as Jinn, they are seen as a person not to make friends with and to stay away from. Diagnosis is normally carried out by a spiritual leader before any health services are involved and often treatment will involve going to India or Pakistan to visit a spiritual leader. If it appears the condition is worsening they may then be sent to see a health professional back in the UK.

In order to treat mental illness at its first available opportunity trust needs to be built within the community, working with spiritual leaders who can encourage referrals into the ADHD service. This can be done by creating a positive image of ADHD and explaining that people can live a ‘normal’ life with the condition.

Feedback and follow up calls suggest the promotion work done at local community centres and places of worship is working and a number of people have got in touch concerned about someone they know who might suffer from ADHD.

This 20 week Khidmat Phase 2 Project has just scraped the surface of Hidden impairments in the South Asian Communities of North Kirklees, but the project has been successful in raising awareness about ADHD and creating interest in the subject among the community. It is hoped more work will continue to tackle the stigma of mental health problems and encourage people to seek help from health professionals.

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This project is run by Alliance for Healthy Living


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Creative Minds is a registered charity in England and Wales number: 1055931-13. Registered office: Fieldhead Hospital, Ouchthorpe Lane, Wakefield, WF1 3SP