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Reflecting the true essence of Ramadan, the British Asian trust held an inclusive Iftar at the Kensington Palace to support one of societies most under-resourced and neglected public health issue – Mental Health.

In an endeavour to #ChangeMinds it was overwhelming to see the community come together to support the British Asian Trust’s initiative – with Pakistani actress and the trusts brand ambassador Sanam Saeed highlighting the “stigma still attached to it”.

The event was presented by Noreen Khan and DJ Neev and attended by their British Asian ambassadors Nitin Ganatra and Naughty Boy.

Speaking at the event the British Asian Trusts CEO Richard Hawkes said: “In Pakistan as many as 1 in 5 families are affected by mental health issues and yet in the whole country there are fewer than 400 psychiatrists.”

Making people #ChangeMinds this Ramadan, Mr Hawkes shared the story of Kolsam who grew up in poverty, without an education and in a household that fought both verbally and physically. Kulsom got married and was well for a few years until her husband started complaining about her behaviour, saying she made ‘irrelevant talk’ but in reality, she was severely depressed.

Eventually Kulsom was separated from her husband and had to live with her brothers. She was no longer able to manage even simple household chores or lead an independent life. But then, as a result of the British Asian Trust, things started to change. Kulsom found the mental health programme of our partner organisation Basic Needs Pakistan, she was diagnosed with depression and given medication and counselling. This all helped to break the cycle of her depression.

Now Kulsom is much better. She has completed a stitching and designing course and is applying for jobs so that she can retain her independence. She is also set on motivating others to break the stigma by talking about depression.

Helping British Asian Trust cast a light on people living in darkness is CareTech Foundation and COSARAF Charitable Foundation who doubled the donation amounts sent through.

Also, at the event was our Managing Director Manish Tiwari who said: “I applaud the spirit of the community, who has come together to support this issue, which is less spoken about and more looked down upon. It is overwhelming to see the support and brings out what this holy month is all about – Giving, Charity and Tolerance.”