Changing Our Lives delivered a series of poetry events in Palfrey, a neighbourhood in the metropolitan borough of Walsall with a population of over 16,000 and of which approximately 95% are Muslim. The poetry focused on mental health and well-being. Although the project was open to all, we worked with schools and community leaders within the Muslim community. We took this approach as we know from our local work and national research that mental health inequalities are prevalent within Asian communities and myths surrounding mental health continue to impact negatively on people’s lives and communities as a whole.

We equally wanted to explore how poetry can be developed as both a creative and cultural experience with individuals and communities, where poetry may rarely be written, spoken or read. Taking poetry workshops into this community helped us to explore the ways that young people were able to use a creative arts medium to tackle issues around mental health, challenge stereotypes and increase awareness. Working with schools, community leaders and an established poet, we tailored each poetry workshop to the needs of the individual group.

Click here to read 'Beyond the Stigma'