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Funds awarded to BAME mental health support charity and consortium member, Pattigift

Eager to ensure that those in the BAME community currently feeling increased pressure on their mental health can get access to timely and affordable support, Living Well UK has awarded funds to specialist treatment provider, Pattigift Therapy CIC, to help it extend its reach and capacity. 

From findings showing that the BAME population is disproportionately affected by COIVD-19; to the reawakening of the Black Lives Matter movement on a global scale following death of George Floyd: the increased strain of the past few months on the mental health of black communities cannot be overstated.

Recognising the mental health challenges that those in the African community face, Birmingham-based organisation, Pattigift, has almost two decades’ experience in delivering psychotherapy, counselling and training, specifically built around an African-centred psychological perspective.

Living Well UK’s funding will contribute towards Pattigift’s latest scheme: its ‘healing circles’. These provide individuals with a safe space to discuss their worries, particularly those surrounding the psychological and emotional challenges impacting Black communities today, which have their roots in historical oppression. Pattigift then equips participants with psychological supporting tools for managing those realties, as well as giving them a place to openly talk in a safe and welcoming environment.

 Speaking about the funding, Ben Howells, CEO of Living Well UK commented:

There is no denying that the ongoing pandemic has caused a severe rise in mental health issues across the country, but with concerning statistics emerging that these are having a much greater impact on BAME communities, more needs to be done to make treatments accessible. Pattigift’s work in this field is unrivalled, and has helped thousands of people in Birmingham feel able – and accepted – when seeking help.

“The rates of self-harm in lockdown are 70% higher among minority ethnic communities than white ones… when you combine this with the findings that BAME groups are consistently less likely to report accessing mental health treatment than their white British counterparts, it’s clear that we have a problem that – if left unsolved – is going to have huge and long-lasting repercussions for Black communities. I sincerely hope that, together with Pattigift, we can help prevent this.”

Founded by Rameri Moukam and Davy Hay in 2003, Pattigift was established due to the continued over representation of African heritage people in psychiatric services and the lack of culturally congruent approaches to addressing their mental health issues. In the last 18-months alone, the organisation reports that it’s seen an increase in the use of its services – supporting around 350 people in 2019 alone – as well as an increase for self-referrals.

The funding from Living Well UK will be used to extend the reach of the organisation’s latest service, with the aim of destigmatising the concept of asking for help. Its healing circles will focus on three separate support groups: the first as a general space for people to discuss negative stereotypes, and oppression that needs to be dealt with, as well as teaching participants self-care techniques to deal with day-to-day stresses; the second aimed at frontline workers; and the third circle for people who want to develop strategies for supporting their families and close networks.

Beyond this, Pattigift will continue to offer both its one-to-one and group therapy sessions, which are currently available over the phone or online. The group also hopes that soon it will be able to bring back in-person treatments for small groups, meeting with social distancing in place.

Speaking about the funding received from Living Well UK and the impact that it will have on Pattigift’s latest scheme, co-founder of the organisation, Davy Hay, comments:

“The past 18-months has seen a huge increase in the amount of people in the BAME community using our services and it seems that now, maybe more than ever before, it is crucial that we continue to provide our services to do what we can to support those in our community in these ever-changing and challenging times.

So many people within our community are still struggling to find the confidence to seek help, but with the generous funding from Living Well UK, we are able to promote our services to not only encourage them to find support when needed, but also to put our services on their radar so that they know that there is a safe space where they can come and discuss their concerns or worries with otherwise within their community.” 

To find out more about Pattigift and its services and referrals visit https://www.pattigifttherapy.org