GV Health unpacks mental health barriers in Afghani community

GV Health unpacks mental health barriers

What is self care? Where can you go if you’re feeling depressed, or anxious, or need help with translation? These were some of the questions addressed at Shepparton’s Afghan mosque on Monday, May 24 as more than 100 community members gathered for a mental health education session.

Goulburn Valley Afghan Association president Zahra Haydar Big said her community often faced cultural stigma and barriers around depression and anxiety. “The session today is very beneficial, unpacking some of the barriers and shame,” she said. “Some community members are ashamed to talk about their mental health, so it’s encouraging everyone not to have that stigma.

“Many people raised issues they faced during COVID-19, and still had post COVID-19. “We have the education today if you’re feeling sad, if you’re feeling anxious, if you’re feeling lonely – there are supports.”

Goulburn Valley Health mental health clinician Charles Oguntade delivered the session, alongside Goulburn Valley Health cultural and linguistically diverse liaison officer Angela Devoti. Ms Devoti said it was the first time GV Health had been able to come directly to the mosque – or any worship centre – to deliver an information session.

“The mosque has always been used for its cultural and religious events, so I feel really humbled and blessed that we have this opportunity to come along and do this with the community,” she said. “One thing I’ve learned working with the community is language is very important. “I will always look for how we can address the needs – and what we need to know to be able to support the community.”

Greater Shepparton Ethnic Council Afghan community development officer Abdullah Naveed assisted with translation. “After one-and-a-half years of being isolated post COVID-19, I thought it would be better if we could talk directly with the community members and the elders,” he said. “Within the community, we have many many bridging visa holders, they are absolutely suffering, struggling with mental health issues.

“Each of the 100 people here will convey the message to the rest of the community about mental health – what is it, how you can cope with it, what are the signs and symptoms. “If people are suffering, find out, take them to a GP, a doctor, to anywhere they can be treated.”


GV Health unpacks mental health barriers



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