British Asian Women at increased risk of self-harm

Britain is a multicultural society with nearly 6.4 million people being of ethnic minority communities. Mental health is an area of particular concern for the minority communities in this country. For years, the differences between black and minority ethnic groups (BME) and the white British population in the rates of mental illness have been the focus of concern, debate and research.

Recent research has shown that there are significantly higher rates of British South Asian women resorting to self-harm, particularly those aged 16-24. Studies showed that marital problems were a predominant factor leading to self-harm in British South Asian women, including issues such as forced marriages, rejection of marriage proposals and other marital problems. In a study by Merrill and Owens, in Birmingham, UK, South Asian women reported marital problems more frequently and the majority of these problems were due to cultural conflicts.

Further studies found that British South Asian Women held the view that mainstream services do not meet their needs, nor do they understand what they are going through. Cultural barriers also prevent South Asian women from accessing support.

There is an urgent need for all those providing services for ethnic minorities to take positive action and eradicate the barriers that prevent British South Asians from seeking help. There is a need to move away from stereotypes and overgeneralisations and start from the user’s frame of reference, taking into account family dynamics, belief systems and being mindful of cultural sensitivity.

JAN Trust believes a woman’s cultural or ethnic background should not prevent her from accessing support and treatment for her mental well-being. By encouraging and equipping marginalised young BAMER women to integrate into society, JAN Trust aims to combat social exclusion, loneliness and depression. Our services focusing on education, training and employment promote self-sufficiency, self-esteem and confidence in our clients. At the same time we are tackling taboo issues such as domestic violence, forced marriage, and honour based violence from within the community.

We provide a secure space where women and children can feel safe whilst gaining new skills, new friends and increased self-confidence.

Additionally, JAN Trust’s work equips vulnerable BAMER women with the necessary skills to navigate the often complex route into accessing mental health services in the UK. JAN Trust helps break down barriers that prevent distressed young women access the treatment they are entitled to.

If you would like to support our work, please go to www.localgiving.com/jantrust and ‘Grow Your Tenner’ regularly whilst you still can! For now, LocalGiving still have £100,000 to give away, so make the most of it while it lasts and keep growing those tenners. A monthly donation of £10 matched to £20 would make a world of difference to us and the women we are supporting! A one-off donation would be just as valuable, so please don’t hesitate!

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About JAN Trust

JAN Trust (www.jantrust.org) is a multi award winning not for profit organisation formed in the late 1980′s. We are based in London and cater for women and youth from disadvantaged and marginalised communities. Our work and services are delivered locally, nationally and internationally. Our aim is to create positive and active citizens of society by educating, empowering and encouraging women and youth. We are dedicated to the cause of combating poverty, discrimination, abuse and social exclusion among Black, Asian, minority ethnic, refugee and asylum seeking (BAMER) women. JAN Trust is making a real difference in improving the lives of communities; promoting human and women's rights as well as community cohesion. We provide a range of services and our work has been recognised by a variety of dignitaries. Check out our website for statements from some of our supporters: http://www.jantrust.org/what-people-say
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