The North London Mental Health Partnership is working with Islington Council to support the mental health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers in our boroughs.
Olga Cecilia Farach, Deputy Lead and Public Governor for Islington, represented our Trust at the Refugee and Migrant Forum 2023 organised by Islington Council on 21 June at Islington Town Hall of Islington.
The Mayor of Islington, Gary Heather, spoke about the importance of Refugee Week, 19-25 June, and the theme this year was “Compassion”. He said Islington had opened its doors to refugees and asylum seekers who hope to start a new life in the borough.
Olga said: “It was great to see different groups assembling, reflecting, and talking about freedom and having their voices heard. During the event, there were presentations by refugees and asylum seekers, who shared their personal journeys. They spoke about being forced to move away from their homes because of conflict, suffering, persecution, and other hardships. There were many performances, including a Ukrainian dance group, a film screening, and Sing for Freedom Choir.”
She said that many speakers talked about the challenges on their journey to seek safety and their fear at having to make a new start in their lives. Many of them spoke about the experience of children in this period of life and the responsibilities we have supporting them. The refugees and asylum seekers also mentioned their resilience, determination, and hope to be included in society.
Olga added: “I believe many refugees and asylum seekers overcome their challenges and rebuild their lives for a better future. They build resilience and wellbeing, supporting their mental health in a world where borders separate individuals and communities.
“Compassion is needed from all of us to understand the suffering of others, and Islington has been active in showing empathy, kindness, and support to all refugees and asylum seekers. This builds equality, diversity, and inclusion, especially for jobs, studies, access to services such as housing and health care. This approach also fosters a sense of belonging and purpose that gives aspirations to refugees and asylum seekers uprooted from their homes.
“We value this work by Islington Council and look forward to working with Camden, Barnet, Enfield, and Haringey, to further support refugees and asylum seekers in their needs for better mental health and wellbeing across the North London Mental Health in Partnership.”