Mental Health Advocacy for Migrants & Refugees
What drives my work is a deep concern with lessening mental health suffering worldwide specifically for migrants and refugees through the prevention, access, care and treatment of mental illness. I primarily work on mental health but I also find opportunities to support those working on mental health and substance-use disorders in migrants and refugees.
Why migrants and refugees specifically?
Migrants go through a lot of mental health challenges during the phase of integrating them into new environments. My experiences have shown that we are unlikely to enjoy equal success because the system is rigged by legal and social restrictions. In most cases, the suffering of individuals and their families is compounded by stigma, discrimination and violation of human rights, and social exclusion, making the way in which society looks at people with mental health conditions a part of the problem itself.
I have researched the fastest way to get mental health treatment through therapy. The shortest time I found was three weeks through a general practitioner's recommendation. This does not include the treatment time, which is usually three months through state supported healthcare. On the other hand, most therapists are private service providers with limited skill in cultural awareness, identity, and intersectionality.
The conundrum of mental health is its invisibility and stigmatisation. Migrants and refugees are also the group that is least likely to "afford" (money and time) to prioritise mental health or even acknowledge that they need help.
Advocacy is an important means of raising awareness on mental health issues and ensuring that mental health is on the national agenda of governments because society benefits from equity in health and wellbeing.
Mental health is influenced by everything from socio-economic conditions, gender and ethnicity, to sexuality and the attitudes and beliefs of individual communities. I am keen to work with organisations on proactive, multi dimensional, intersectional, and sustainable ways to address the mental welfare of immigrants and refugees.
Understanding why the linkages to care are often broken is a good place to start. Culturally competent, thoughtful initiatives that can rectify social inequities through expanded access to health care, engagement with migrant communities, and formation of support networks.
Mission & Vision
Here are some of the questions driving my work.
How can leaders create intersectional wellness solutions that help their employees thrive?
How can we engage governments to create sustainable, intersectional, and inclusive wellness solutions that help the community as a whole to thrive?
How can we engage the most marginalised groups to seek help?
How can we readily support the groups that need help, without causing harm?
How do we get policy makers to change systems that no longer serve the needs of the growing cosmopolitan communities?
My goal is to use my expertise in advocacy to advance this vision and focus on four areas of strategic impact:
Rights: Everyone has the right to enjoy the highest attainable level of mental health.
Financing: Optimal finance is needed for effective mental health systems.
Systems: Quality, comprehensive and person-centred mental health services should be accessible for all.
Education: Empowering the general population through education on mental health – decreasing stigma, discrimination and promoting people’s rights.
I would love to hear from you
If you’d like to connect with me, enquire about my work, collaborations or partnership opportunities, or speak with me regarding any other matter, please complete the form below or contact me directly by email. I will do my best to respond to you in a timely manner.