Improved Health and Wellbeing
Our members advocate for policy and practice that will enable refugees and asylum seekers to look after their health and wellbeing. The refugee and asylum seeker community faces specific challenges, including forced inactivity, changed diet, traumatic experiences and constant anxiety. In particular, our members advocate for action to prevent the deterioration of mental health after arrival in the UK.
We also call for more collaborative working between health agencies and RCOs.
Here’s some examples of what we have been doing.
Commissioning services that meet the distinct needs of the community
Our members present evidence of what is not working and recommendations for what could work better at platforms where decision makers meet, including Clinical Commissioning Groups, Public Health Commissioners and Health and Wellbeing Boards and they engage in many consultations.
We piloted an insert for Local Authority Joint Strategic Needs Assessments so that they include information on Refugees and Asylum Seekers as a distinct community of experience. This could help inform commissioning of more effective and more inclusive local services. We worked with Gateshead Council to demonstrate how this could look in their JSNA.
Improving hand in and access to health services for new arrivals
We advocate for a more active hand in to GP registration to be part of the Home Office AASC service specifications because months after arrival too many people are still not registered with a GP.
We have co-produced some resources to try to help fill this gap. Our members have produced the ‘Welcome to the UK’ video guide and printed resources on Looking after your health in the UK in 10 languages. It aims to help newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers understand when and how to access health services and to recognise and respond to some of the specific health challenges they could face. You will find the resources here.
And we co-produced a pilot, pocket-sized information card to help people access local health services in Newcastle. See it here
We also co-produced a pilot, pocket-sized information card to help people access local health services in Newcastle. See it here
Promoting transfer and scale up of new models for preventing deterioration in mental health after arrival in the UK
We seek out emerging models of good practice from other areas of the UK or abroad that could be transferred into or rolled out across our region.
One example is a peer guided group-based self-help stress management course which the World Health Organisation has produced. Self Help + is an evidence-based psychological intervention for delivery in humanitarian situations where psychological distress is high but service access is limited. We are promoting its trial in the region.
Supporting ‘street level bureaucrats’ – because in the end policy is delivered by front line workers
Our members have delivered training to over 2,000 front line health and mental health professionals and to students of medicine, nursing and public health. Our training shares insights into the particular health challenges refugees and asylum seekers face in adjusting to life in the UK, looking after their own health, and building resilience to the impact of trauma and constant anxiety.
Click here to see more information about our training offer