In a research survey aimed at Punjabi communities, we ascertained that 75% of respondents turn to faith at times of mental health difficulties. To this end, it is imperative that faith centres are empowered with awareness,e education and support to meet the needs of their congregations.
To date, we have supported two Gurdware – Sikh centres for socio-spiritual development- to shape effective mental health support infrastructure, a more mental health literate congregation and, further, volunteers with increased confidence at approaching mental health crisis situations.
With Gurdwara Sahib Woolwich, we delivered an introductory mental health awareness talk in both Punjabi and English to the congregation, involving individuals from Sikh Your Mind, Basics of Sikhi, and JKL Therapy.
Following this talk, we formed a small working group to help organise the next-steps, which took the form of a 1-day Mental Health Champion training delivered by a local instructor to increase our volunteer base.
Most recently, the working group have taken their initiative to deliver more specialised mental health talks to their congregation to continue the amazing engagement to-date. Taraki continues to support the working group where possible to help meet the needs of their local community.
Similarly, with Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Bradford, we have worked with local volunteers to deliver an introductory mental health awareness talk in both Punjabi and English. Volunteers then undertook further training in mental health awareness delivered by a brilliant local organisation. Taraki are continuing to support this group with supporting their local community.
At Guru Amar Das Gurdwara, Leicester, Taraki worked alongside the Heera Foundation to ensure the local sangat (congregation) could start thinking about mental health. This engagement is not a longer-term project as are Woolwich and Bradford, but as our capacity broadens, we would look to engage more Gurdware in longer-term strategies to develop their mental health infrastructure.