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Health News Fri, 1 Feb 2019

Noah Care Foundation UK to organize mental health awareness in hard to reach African communities

Noah Care Foundation (NCF) UK was founded by Mr Noah Kantoh, an experience Mental health nurse, who over the years had worked both in Ghana and UK. NCF UK (the foundation) is a non-Governmental Organization (NGO), non-profit making, non-registered charity based in UK. The main aim is to organise professionals in developed world to share their expertise with local service providers in UK, to support hard to reach African communities.

NCF UK objective is to support African communities in Manchester area providing information and health educational in relation to mental health illness and practice. Directing them to the mental health services available in the community (i.e. GP, NHS, private hospitals, Mental health Charities, i.e. MIND, Rethink, Samaritans, psychological therapies, etc).

Many African communities suffer in silence due to the lack of directions in the facilities available to them in the community.

Research shows that when sound individuals are in stress, their judgment is impaired. This worsen when the individual has no idea where to go and how to get there, resulting in reaching help at the last minutes, if not too late. Therefore, rather than the hard to reach African communities struggling to look for local health services, NCF will support them and set up systems in place to facilitate easy access to health services within the local community in UK, with Manchester as the starting point.

NCF leadership are individuals with various skills and working experience in both National Health Service (NHS) and private mental healthcare health in UK and Manchester in particular. The experience of this individuals and professional skills has been employed to factor in the passion of supporting vulnerable children, adults and the elderly. In various level of care, frontline nursing, community care, home base treatment, psychological therapies/psychosocial intervention, elderly care, child and adolescent, forensic/secure, mother and babies, and many more.

The following individuals comprise the founding leaders in UK: Mr Noah Kantoh (Ghanaian)-Founder-Mental health nurse

Mrs Mwanakombo Waziri -UK/Kenyan: Trustee-Community Mental Health Nurse-NHS

Ms Allen Lule -Trustee-UK/Ugandan- Private Healthcare worker

Mrs Victoria Assan-Trustee- Ghanaian- NHS Staff

After discussing the objectives of the foundations and focus, the leaders organised an event on 15th December 2018 to formally outdoor the meaning of the foundation to the public in Manchester. The event was to encourage professionals in the area and entire UK to join the course and support the objective of the foundation. Participates attended from London, Birmingham, Manchester, Rochdale, Bury, majority from Greater Manchester local area. The activities of the foundations were outline by the founder Mr Noah Kantoh. Brief analysis of the need to support mental health care of people of African decent in the Manchester area and the entire UK were demonstrated to the group and the event.

It was noted that; most immigrant from African countries and new arrival goes through stress as they try to settle into the community by getting work, assessing local amenities and can easily become victims of crime or offences.

The foundations will provide platform for new arrivals to be directed adequately and get the right information and direction into the Manchester community hence reducing stress, facilitating social inclusion and avoiding unnecessary offences.

Research in UK literature indicates that; the black African and black Caribbean people who committed suicide suffered from high levels of delusions and hallucinations and deliberate self-harm. Schizophrenia is the most common diagnosis among black Africans and black people. These culture are less likely to acknowledge the possibility of having a health condition or seek mental health services. Hence the foundation focus on the education of this communities and address their needs to direct them appropriately.

African Caribbean people are also more likely to enter the mental health services via the courts or the police, rather than from primary care, which is the main route to treatment for most people. They are also more likely to be treated under a section of the Mental Health Act, are more likely to receive medication, rather than be offered talking therapies such as psychotherapy, and are over-represented in high and medium secure units and prisons.

THIS MAY BE BECAUSE THEY ARE RELUCTANT TO ENGAGE WITH SERVICES, AND SO ARE MUCH MORE ILL WHEN THEY DO. IT MAY ALSO BE THAT SERVICES USE MORE COERCIVE APPROACHES TO TREATMENT.

Furthermore, evidence showed that training improves people's knowledge about suicide, the risks and how to prevent it. National Institute of Clinical Excellence, UK (NICE) therefore established that it may be effective to train a range of people involved with both the public and with occupational groups known to be at high risk of suicide. That way they can help spread general prevention messages and encourage people at risk to talk and seek help. Consequently, the foundation willingness to train local community volunteers to spread the information to the hard to reach African communities in Manchester to announce the news.

To address these issues, the foundation will recruit volunteers mental health professionals from African background to give professional advice and consultation in the support of those individuals with emerging mental health problems or are living with mental health conditions.

The mental health professionals will identify the needed individuals in their area of professional practice and refer to the foundations for follow up and support.

There will be volunteer community members who will be mental health Ambassadors in their local community groups like churches and religious groups. These ambassadors will feedback, identified individuals with mental health need in the community to the professional volunteers for follow up, advice and give directions where appropriate.

Community groups (like churches and religious bodies) where such individuals will be identified, will contact the volunteer mental health professionals. The volunteers will then liaise with the community groups and families to support such individual, by sign posting them to the appropriate mental health facility which can address their needs.

There foundation work and corroborate between the qualified volunteers and community ambassadors, as well as professional service providers to address the needs of the African community in Manchester area.

As mental health professionals when cultural inequalities among individual services users of African origin are identify, in professionals’ areas of work, through professional meetings or safeguarding. The foundation will provide support and cultural interventions to address such inequalities.

The foundations will support Africans who experience stress from work, immigration difficulties and social pressure and provide direction to the appropriate local social services that can support their needs. The foundation office will be open for people to assess and talk about their needs and the foundation will liaise with other existing local services and charities to address such needs.

The foundation will work in consultation with local food bank and clothing to support individuals and groups who require funds, food, shelter and clothing to direct them to the appropriate area of needs.

The leaders and trustees of the foundation encourages the African community and community volunteers to join the course in supporting our vulnerable children and adults in Manchester area.

Source: Mr Noah Kantoh