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Priory launches multi-cultural mental health partnership

The My Asha (Hope) Service is a unique mental health service developed by Priory Hospital Woodbourne and My Time counselling and support services, to offer private and confidential access to mental health professionals in one community location.

Dr Syed Omair Ahmed, Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital Woodbourne, will hold a weekly clinic at the My Time centre in Small Heath. His clinical interests include general adult psychiatry, mood disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), addictions and anxiety.

My Time provides a range of counselling and psychological services to help support individuals to develop independent lifestyles and tackle their mental health and wellbeing needs. My Time is an intercultural organisation that provides multi-lingual counselling and listening services that are non-stigmatising and accessible across communities.

Dr Syed Omair Ahmed said: "This new, private service will be based at the My Time centre in Small Heath and will enable patients to access intercultural and multi-lingual psychiatric, psychological and counselling services, as well as complementary therapies."

"The stigma of mental illness has decreased considerably in the western world partly because many high-profile people and celebrities have talked openly about their illness. The positive attitude of the mass media towards mental illness has also made a good impact."

"However, within the Asian community the effect of stigma can be very strong. It can lead to people harming themselves, possibly committing suicide or in some cases harming others. Statistics show that twice as many Asian women harm themselves as the rest of the population."

"Mental illness is a still a taboo subject for many people in South Asian communities in particular, and misconceptions and misunderstanding about the causes of mental health problems are barriers to reducing negative attitudes. I hope that by working with My Time and leaders of the ethnic community we can reduce the stigma of mental illness and encourage people to seek invaluable treatment."

Harjinder Boparai, Chair of My Time said: "The stigma of mental illness can be so profound and ingrained, and many members of the ethnic community are suffering in silence."

"We need to address misconceptions about mental illnesses and people affected by them, bringing the issue to the heart of the community."

"At My Time, we provide holistic courses, counselling services and programmes, which increase the self-esteem and confidence of individuals and help them set and achieve their goals in life in a healthy and positive way."

"Working with Priory Hospital Woodbourne to provide more mainstream, but still culturally aware, mental health services is a logical and valuable partnership and one which we hope will be beneficial to both organisations and the wider community."

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