Monday, 24 June 2013

Together for Leeds Conference
Motivation Progress, Good Mental Health

Divine Charura, a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University in Counselling and Psychotherapy, led
the open discussion on Motivation Progress, Good Mental Health at the Together for Leeds Conference. Divine is a graduate member of the British Psychological society and also works as a UKCP registered adult
psychotherapist with experience in the voluntary sector and within the NHS.

He has years of various work experience in diverse psychiatric/clinical and therapeutic settings in the UK and abroad. Divine also has years of working as an individual and group supervisor and has written and presented papers and book chapters on different topics including Transcultural Psychology, Supervision, Addiction, Love, Family Work, Working with Young People, Trauma, Psychopathology and other complex mental health diagnoses. His background makes him an extremely knowledge individual to lead a discussion on such an important issue.

Feeling motivated is crucial to having good mental health, as when people become de-motivated they become trapped in a constant negative despair. This workshop was extremely insightful and showed the importance of feeling motivated.

The question ‘How to motivate refugees’ got people passionate right away. The first point mentioned by the group was the importance of integration, which members of the group did not agree with. Some raised the issue of there being a divide in communities as people only stick to people from their own cultures which leads to people not being able to integrate into other communities. However others felt when refugees come into a country, not knowing anyone and not being able to speak the language it is important to surround themselves with familiarity as it builds up confidence and a form of belonging.

As the debate went back and forth, in the end there was a common ground, in the problem that lies within housing. Refugees do not have control over where they are placed and therefore end up wherever they are housed. This may either lead them to being placed in a community with no other cultures or areas where there are predominately similar ethnic groups, which means they might be less inclined to socialise with other people and in turn miss out on opportunities such as learning the language, the countries customs and being able to integrate into the work force.

Another major issue with housing is that families with children have limited options of schools they can attend. A disadvantage of this is that sometimes the children can get labeled and by not having people from their own country in the same area it can lead to a disconnection to their roots as they have no one to relate to. One member of the group said his son goes to a school where there are no other children from his country and doesn’t want to speak his mother tongue.

The recommended solutions to both these important issues raised by the group were that there needs to be better control over housing by ensuring that communities and areas become more culturally integrated. This will not only lead to more cultural integration but it will also allow people who have misconceptions of refugees to understand more about them.

There was also a general agreement within the group that the media plays a big part in the de-motivation of refugees. The majority of media portrayal is negative, which leads to not only the public having a negative perception of refugees but also refugees of themselves. When Divine asked how many negative portrayals the group has seen nearly all of the participants raised their hand and when he asked how many positive stories they have heard or seen hardly anyone raised their hand. The media is extremely influential and when there are constant negativity portrayals being shown people will start to believe them. A participant of the discussion said “everyone has a vision when they leave their country but de-motivation starts at the airport and from there on, there are constant beating downs of your character”.

Another issue raised was the lack of support for those suffering from depression from health care practitioners. One participant felt that the current methods and dismissal the health care offers is not   supportive. A solution to this problem by participants  were the need for more practical and active classes being offered and there being better ways of communicating those to the refugee community.

The discussion could have carried on all day on how to motivate people and the various barriers there are to overcome those issues, however as the session was only 30 minutes long this was not possible. Discussing that there is a problem and the passion that the participants showed for the topic is a step forward.

If you have anything to add to the discussion that took place and have suggestions on how to improve those, please do comment below and voice your opinion.

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