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Guntars Ermansons, Abdirahman Salah, and Ali Awes: Mental Health and Wellbeing of Somali Refugees in Urban Neighbourhoods of London and Bristol

06. März 2024 

Sem­i­nar in the series on the Refugee Men­tal Health and Place

Lec­ture: „Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing of Soma­li Refugees in Urban Neigh­bour­hoods of Lon­don and Bristol”
Speak­ers: Dr Gun­tars Erman­sons, Abdi­rah­man Salah, and Ali Awes
6th of March 2024 from 16:00–17:30 GMT, online

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In this pre­sen­ta­tion, we will present find­ings of a qual­i­ta­tive study that explores the role of urban neigh­bour­hoods in the men­tal health and well­be­ing of refugees, specif­i­cal­ly focus­ing on Soma­li refugees in Lon­don and Bris­tol, UK. The pre­sen­ta­tion will fore­ground reflec­tions from two Soma­li com­mu­ni­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tives and advi­so­ry board mem­bers who sup­port­ed the study.
Adopt­ing an eco-social per­spec­tive, the study reveals how Soma­li refugees nav­i­gate a com­plex urban envi­ron­ment com­pris­ing var­i­ous neigh­bour­hood fea­tures which include impor­tant places near home, inter­ac­tions with neigh­bours, and com­mu­ni­ty spaces. While these fea­tures afford them resources to improve men­tal health and well­be­ing, they also present chal­lenges such as high urban den­si­ty, expo­sure to vio­lence or dis­crim­i­na­tion, and neigh­bour­hood dis­or­der. In con­clu­sion, we will empha­sise the impor­tance of recog­nis­ing refugees’ agency and pro­vid­ing con­tin­u­ous sup­port through­out the asy­lum process and beyond to ensure sta­ble and safe liv­ing con­di­tions and pro­mote refugee men­tal health and wellbeing.

Abdi­rah­man Salah is the coor­di­na­tor and advi­sor for the Bar­net Soma­li Com­mu­ni­ty Group (BSCG) in North­west Lon­don. He pro­vides advice on wel­fare, hous­ing, edu­ca­tion, immi­gra­tion, employ­ment, and health, includ­ing men­tal health. He is also a Chair­man of the Bar­net Mul­ti­cul­tur­al Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­tre, which is the umbrel­la organ­i­sa­tion for the BSCG, Asian Old People’s Asso­ci­a­tion and Afro-Caribbean Community.

Ali Awes is a com­mu­ni­ty sup­port work­er at the Certitude’s Soma­li Project, an award-win­ning ser­vice that sup­ports peo­ple from the Soma­li com­mu­ni­ty in Lam­beth. The Soma­li Project con­nects peo­ple who are iso­lat­ed or have men­tal health needs to increase their sup­port net­works, con­fi­dence and famil­iar­i­ty when using wider com­mu­ni­ty resources, and to improve access to men­tal health ser­vices. He is also the vice-chair­man of South Kil­burn resident’s asso­ci­a­tion and elect­ed com­mu­ni­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ trustee at South Kil­burn Trust.

Gun­tars Erman­sons is a Lec­tur­er in the Depart­ment of Glob­al Health & Social Med­i­cine at King’s Col­lege Lon­don. He is also a co-lead of the Refugee Men­tal Health and Place Net­work. His main research inter­ests are cen­tred on migra­tion and forced dis­place­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly focus­ing on refugee men­tal health and diaspora.