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Therapists combat Korean stigma to mental health

Psychological therapists and wellbeing specialists in Kingston, south west London, are developing their online therapy service to offer particular support to the area’s significant Korean community.
It is estimated that up to 20,000 people from a Korean background live in Greater London, particularly in and around Kingston, making it the most concentrated Korean population in Europe.
The number of Koreans accessing Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust’s (C&I) Kingston iCOPE psychological therapy services is very limited though and the team, under Clinical Lead Rhona Trotter, is now working to break down the strong stigma within the Korean community about mental health.
An online interactive therapy programme, recently launched by C&I for Kingston, is now being translated into Korean and a trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, Korean-born Winny Yoon, will work with the service for a year to strengthen links with the community.
Winny, who settled in the UK 18 years ago, said: “There is very little access from the Korean community to therapy services in the area at the moment.
“They do not recognise low mood, depression or anxiety. Traditionally, if you complain about your mood you are seen as weak or as having a personality defect.”
Winny’s appointment will build on the work of Korean-born Sunyoung Lee, who was appointed an honorary counsellor at Kingston iCope just over a year ago.
Sunyoung said: “The online programme will be invaluable input for the Korean community, helping educate them about what help is available and providing easier access.”
The Korean version of the online therapy programme will mirror the English version, with modules for topics such as Panic, Depression, Work Stress and Relaxation.
If successful, the approach could also be used elsewhere in Kingston for other communities including the Polish and Sri Lankans – in line with one of the key themes of C&I’s new Clinical Strategy to make services available to all communities.*
Kingston’s Korean population started to grow in the 1950s as a legacy of the UK’s involvement in the Korean War, but has risen due to the popularity with students of nearby London universities and the arrival of South Korean companies such as Samsung and Kia Motors.


Notes to Editors

* Our Clinical Strategy

At the heart of everything we do are the guiding principles contained in our new Clinical Strategy launched in March 2016.  The ethos behind the initiative for psychological therapists and wellbeing specialists to help reduce the stigma within the Korean community about mental health, reflects the following pledges from the Clinical Strategy:
  • we will work in a recovery-orientated way
  • we will improve access to our services for everyone regardless of  gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and other protected characteristics

Click here to find out more about our new Clinical Strategy.

About Camden and Islington NHS Trust

We provide mental health and substance misuse services to people living in Camden and Islington, and a substance misuse and psychological therapies service to residents in Kingston. 
We have two inpatient facilities, at Highgate Mental Health Centre and St Pancras Hospital, as well as community based services throughout the London boroughs of Camden and Islington. Our Trust is also a member of University College London Partners (UCLP), one of the world’s leading academic health science partnerships.
We provide services for adults of working age, adults with learning difficulties, and older people in the London area either in a community or inpatient setting.
Our income for 2015/16 was £138million and we have approximately 1,700 staff. Our staff  work in multi-disciplinary teams providing a holistic approach to recovery. This means that we often work with partner agencies and the voluntary sector. Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust was established in 2002. In March 2008 we became the first Care Trust to achieve Foundation Trust status and are licensed by NHS Improvement.

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