Over a 120 people from a range of Newport's diverse communities attended an event at the Lysaght Institute yesterday aiming to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Activities at the unique event included singing, dancing and hearing from people living with mental health probelms, as well as guest speakers, workshops and information stands.

The event was organised as part of the Shana Bashana project - Urdu for 'Shoulder to Shoulder', which is funded by Time to Change Wales, the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, and delivered by the Ashiana women's group, based at Newport Mind. The Ashiana group is run by Rahila Hamid and aims to increase discussion and awareness of mental health issues, particularly among Newport's black and minority ethnic communities.

People attending the event were greeted with a large banner produced by the group as a way of introducing people to the project.

Speaking after the event, Shana Bashana's Rahila Hamid said:

"This is something I have had been thinking of doing for a long time, to have an event where I get all organisations, professionals and community groups and individuals from all walks of life together under one roof that I have been working with and for in the past 12 years as a Black and Minority Ethnic Community support worker with the focus on better mental health and overall wellbeing of everyone.

ShanaBashana provided an opportunity for me to make it happen and for my dream to become a reality. It’s a living proof that we are all together to challenge stigma associated with mental health regardless of our ethnicity, belief, age and status to have healthy families, communities, work places and society as a whole.

We're not finished yet - this is the beginning!"

Time to Change Wales' South Wales Coordinator Humie Webbe said:

"The Shana Bashana event was well attended with the right balance of talks, discussions and interactive workshop involved the whole audience. Ashiana and Newport Mind proudly welcomed people to the event in their Time to Change Wales teeshirts and did a great job in attracting people from diverse cultures who actively responded to personal stories from the Time to Change Wales Champions on their experiences of stigma and discrimination and participated in the wellbeing workshops with enthusiasm.

Ashiana's Time to Change Wales banner is a great talking piece and has already demonstrated that it is an ideal vehicle to start these conversations on mental health and well being"

You can see photos from the event on our Flickr page (and we have higher quality photos to add soon!). To contact the Ashiana group, for media enquiries or for further quotes and photos please contact us.


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