THE importance of recognising the early signs of mental health problems and finding the right help were highlighted at a workshop in Woking aimed at the Afro-Caribbean community.
The event was held at the Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum offices in Export House in the town centre and was run by Catalyst, the Guildford-based mental health charity.
It was attended by about 20 members of the Global Grooves Foundation, a Woking-based group that helps people of Afro-Caribbean heritage in Surrey.
Langton Chipagula, the Global Grooves founder, said people often do not realise that they have mental health problems.
“Sometimes people just leave it and then it affects them more and they are not able to come out of it,” said Langton.
He said there was a long question and answer session at the end of the workshop, which was very helpful.
The workshop was attended by Woking MP Jonathan Lord, who presented Global Grooves with a £10,000 cheque from the National Lottery Community Fund.
Mr Lord spoke at the workshop and said Covid restrictions have had an impact on the social wellbeing of everyone.
“Mental health awareness has never been as important as it is now,” Mr Lord said.
“Seeking help and trying to keep your family and friends in good mental health is important as is trying to spot the signs of problems and getting professional help and support if needed.”
Mr Lord said social activities can be good for mental health. “This can be sporting or cultural activities, getting involved in organisations within the community or just meeting up with family and friends,” he added.
The National Lottery money has been spent on cultural musical instruments that Global Grooves will use at its workshops in schools and churches.
It also paid for African craft items that children at the workshops can play with and learn how to make.
“Our children are often born in this country and don’t know about these things,” said Langton.
“Our objective is to interact with everybody, not just with our community.”