Banbury mosque joins forces with Oxfordshire County Council in 'Every Mind Matters' mental health campaign

Banbury Mosque have joined forces with Oxfordshire County Council to back the Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters campaign.
Banbury Mosque (photo from Oxfordshire County Council website)Banbury Mosque (photo from Oxfordshire County Council website)
Banbury Mosque (photo from Oxfordshire County Council website)

With local places of worship, recreation and community centres remaining closed, many people have lost an important source of one-to-one contact and are experiencing mental health issues as a direct result of the pandemic.

So leaders at Banbury Madni Mosque are doing their bit and encouraging their members to stay connected online, keep to a routine, and support each other during these difficult times.

Donna Husband, Oxfordshire County Council’s lead for mental wellbeing in Public Health, said: “We know how important it is for our residents to stay mentally and physically well and supporting people’s mental health is a priority for Oxfordshire’s Health Improvement Board. We have made a partnership commitment to support the whole population’s mental wellbeing through partnership groups and plans.

“The views from our diverse and multi-ethnic communities on wellbeing will help us build a better picture of the mental wellbeing needs and assets of Oxfordshire.”

Abu Hassan Hanif, chairman of Banbury Madni Mosque, said: “This lockdown has been a disaster for many people, but to support them and to keep our community mentally, physically and spirituality well, we have had ongoing activities such as daily talks online as well as continuing with our calls to prayer throughout the day.

“Although mental wellbeing can be somewhat of a taboo subject, our Imams at Banbury Madni Mosque speak to people of all walks of life and have seen an increasing need for support for issues such as disputes between spouses, family members and panic attacks.

“We’ve found that keeping with a regular routine and remaining in daily contact with others, has been so important spiritually and mentally when so much seems out of your control.”

Nisha Sharma, project lead for PHE South East’s Population Health Team, said: “There are simple things you can do to help stop things escalating and you should try if you feel your mental wellbeing is suffering under the current lockdown.

“If you are noticing a change to your moods, sleep or ability to enjoy the things you usually would, I would urge you to reach out to someone you trust, or an organisation in your community. Many are still very much active and would be very happy to hear from you.

“The Every Mind Matters campaign includes free tools and resources to help you reflect on what might help you. A good place to start is the NHS-approved Mind Plan.”

The mind plan is available through the NHS one you website.

The Every Mind Matters campaign focuses on mental wellbeing as well as the four most commonly reported concerns linked to mental health – anxiety, low mood, stress and trouble sleeping.

A separate survey carried out jointly by Healthwatch Oxfordshire and Oxford Community Action together working with community volunteers from Oxford’s diverse and multi-ethnic communities explored community views on wellbeing. It showed that friends, family, faith and community were most important to supporting wellbeing, but also revealed that there were barriers faced to accessing and using support services.

Of the 152 people who responded to the survey, 60 per cent said they would like help with managing their stress, and yet only 4 per cent said they would seek mental health support. The report highlighted that culturally appropriate, locally delivered and practical support, developed with input of communities themselves was key.