The Forum's small but perfectly formed staff team has been augmented this month with the appointment of David Robertson to head up its Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Men and Mental Health project.
David has been working in health for most of his career, including 10 years at the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health where he co-authored Breaking the Circles of Fear, a review of mental health services to African and Caribbean communities. His areas of interest are race, ethnicity and mental health with a special interest in refugees and asylum seekers. He recently completed a study exploring the perceptions and understanding of mental illness among Somali refugees.
'The aim of the project is to examine the mental health beliefs and help-seeking strategies of BME Men,' David said, 'and to develop a range of interventions to prevent mental illness and promote good mental health. The outcomes of the project will include the publication of the projects findings, the production and development of a range resources including health information, web-based materials, and models of good practice highlighting those organisations that are working effectively with BME men.
Working part-time on a fixed-term contract until the end of the project in 2009, David's first steps will be 'to engage with the range of commuity and statutory sector organisations working with BME men in order to develop partnerships and access local networks.'
MHF CEO Peter Baker said: 'I am delighted that David has been able to join us. He is eminently qualified and we are clearly very fortunate to have him on board. I'm sure he will have an impact on much more than the BME Men and Mental Health project.'
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