Workshops to explore underserved local communities’ experiences with mental health and mental health care

Olivia Miller
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A series of workshops, focus groups and interviews bringing together people from a variety of underserved groups in Kent will begin on Tuesday 26 March.

Taking place at Kent’s Canterbury campus (10.00-14.00), researchers are seeking to hear from underserved local communities in the region (including young people, new mothers, older adults and members from Kent’s ethnic minority communities) about their different perceptions and experiences of mental health and mental health care. The researchers are keen to explore how their perceptions and experiences link to their cultural understandings and their expectations of society.

Participants can access free transport to and from the workshop and will be offered a free communal lunch.

The workshop is part of a wider research project titled INTERACT: Imagining mental healthcare: engaging underserved local communities in Kent, aiming to help underserved members of Kent communities have an equal voice in the conversation around the future of mental healthcare in the region. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

A showcase event at Turner Contemporary in Margate (one of the project partners) will follow the first creative workshop, with presentations of the research findings and roundtable discussions with psychiatrists, researchers and community organisations.

There will be further workshops, focus groups and individual interviews to follow, with the research team talking to other existing community groups. Outcomes will include podcasts, short documentaries and a touring exhibition.

Insights from the research will be shared through podcasts, short documentaries, a touring exhibition, public talks, social media content, an academic journal article and inform a policy brief.

Professor Lisa Dikomitis, Principal Investigator of the project (also Director of Kent’s Centre for Health Services Studies and Director of Research at the Kent and Medway Medical School), said: ‘It is so important to understand the challenges that underserved groups of people in Kent face and how mental healthcare can be improved for them. This project will capture the lived experiences of these community members which we will use in our case for positive change. We welcome members of the public to join our first workshop and help us to make a difference.’

Individuals can sign up for the workshop taking place at the University’s Canterbury campus on Tuesday 26 March at 10.00-14.00 via this link.