Healthwatch Islington calls for expansion of mother-tongue counselling services
In a report published on April 24th 2020, Healthwatch Islington has found that, in many cases cultural and language barriers made NHS counselling and talking therapies less effective for members of migrant communities.
They interviewed 73 residents from migrant communities who were living with mental health issues find out what their experiences were of accessing the support available in the borough. Nafsiyat was the most widely accessed of the services they asked about and feedback about our service was very positive.
“I was referred by my GP to Nafsiyat. I have received the help I need to get better. The counsellor speaks my language and I was relieved to express my anxiety and distress I was having in day to day life…I was treated with warmth, compassion and not judged.” – Service user, Nafsiyat
Healthwatch Islington found that using interpreters when discussing complex issues around mental health, and the causes of poor mental health (such as domestic violence) has limitations, and sourcing counsellors in clients’ own language is considered more effective.
Their recommendations include to invest in and adequately resource the culturally specific organisations that support residents with a range of socioeconomic needs. This includes expanding and/or supporting the development of mother tongue counselling services.