Call for end to cultural ‘tensions’ in Ipswich so mentally ill BME people can seek help
- Credit: Archant
A 53-year-old Ipswich man with early onset dementia has called for more to be done for people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who suffer with mental health problems.
David Oyewobi, whose late brother had schizophrenia, said a lack of integration in the town was causing “tension” and leaving some people unable to seek help outside their own cultural circles.
He said: “We should integrate as one, especially those with mental health.
“There’s been a lot of stabbings and drug using going on in Ipswich, and that’s part of the mental health issues.
“When people are not saying anything it’s swept under the carpet. There is tension right now within the different communities and things feel like they are about to explode.
“I’m born and bred British but people still make comments and there is no attempt to bring people together.”
David was speaking during an event at Ipswich Library yesterday to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year carries the theme ‘Surviving or Thriving?’.
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As part of the campaign, Jennie Greenhalgh and three of her colleagues from charity Julian Support walked from their Ipswich office in Clarkson Street to Ipswich Library, starting conversations with members of the public along the way.
Jennie said almost everyone she met that morning told her they had experienced mental illness in some form and, perhaps more surprisingly, they were willing to talk about it.
She added: “Everyone has amazed me how they have opened up and shared really deep feelings and emotions.”
Although this shows stigma around the subject is breaking down, Jennie said a lack of funding meant there wasn’t always the resources available to help all those coming forward.
Shamim Almamun, service manager at Julian Support Ipswich, said there needed to be more mental health education in schools.
He added: “That’s when the future generation will grow up with much more resilience and as a result they will have a better work/life balance, then you have a better citizen and a better country.”
The charity works alongside Suffolk Libraries and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to run a weekly support group at Ipswich Library called Open Space.
Ian Wyard, 51, attends most sessions and he said the social interaction improved his mental wellbeing.