CATALYST 4 CHANGE is seeking to develop a number of pan West Midlands freephone support lines across the areas of Birmingham, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Coventry.
The lines would be available to African & Caribbean people with a mental health support need, their families and carers during the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures initiated by the UK government.
This is a particularly difficult time for people with a diagnosed mental health condition or lived experience of mental health problems. Many will be isolated and cut off socially and from previously provided mental health support services.
The SUPPORT-CONNECT lines would give them access to people and workers that they are already familiar with at no cost to them or the support organisations.
CATALYST 4 CHANGE is developing the initiative with key regional African & Caribbean mental health organisations including the African Caribbean Community Initiative (Wolverhampton), The Tamarind Centre (Coventry), Sandwell African & Caribbean Mental Health Foundation (West Bromwich) and CommonUnity (Birmingham).
SUPPORT-CONNECT will provide a genuine and necessary collaboration between key community mental health services that serve African & Caribbean communities across the West Midlands and propagate longer term relationships with these organisations which is at the very heart of CATALYST 4 CHANGE’s wider mission.
SUPPORT-CONNECT will combine the collective knowledge of available services (both locally and nationally) ensuring that service users, their families and carers can be quickly advised on or redirected to essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, all partners that are involved felt that SUPPORT-CONNECT is an excellent and much needed initiative, and wanted to be involved in this project as a number of them had already considered setting up a help line as soon as possible due to the limitations COVID-19 had placed on them.
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These are unprecedented times but together, we are stronger, and the response is coming from communities across the country.