South Asian woman at high risk of depression

By Will Astbury

Manchester Council for Community Relations held a meeting to discuss why depression is an issue amongst South Asian woman.

The council (MCCR) met to discuss the topic on Thursday 1 October 2009 after a national survey revealed that South Asian women are the most at risk of developing depression.

Pakistani women were found to be the worst effected, followed by women of Indian origin.

As a result MCCR organized this lecture, which was delivered Dr Nusrat Husain, senior lecturer at the University of Manchester, to discuss causes for the high rates of depression and provide recommendations on how to tackle this serious issue.

Dr Husain was part of a team who conducted a Manchester study which analysed one thousand women from South Asian communities and an equal number of white women.

South Asian women were still found to be the worst effected by depression in the area.

“If we look at these findings along side statistics concerning self harm and suicide, which is also highest amongst South Asian women, the results are quite alarming,” said Dr Husain.

At the meeting he recommended that factors, which cause depression in these communities, need to be better understood by both service providers and the communities themselves.

Talking to Manchester Mouth, Dr Husain cited the main factors of depression to be isolation, poverty, health, housing difficulties, and marriages or relationships.

He is now urging the community to come forward when concerns arise and is asking supportive organisations to reassess their policies for certain communities so people can access the bespoke care they need.

Khan Moghal, chief executive of MCCR, said: “The issues of mental health and depression are still considered a taboo within the Asian community.”

Dr Husain’s study also made reference to similar depression problems amongst afro-carribean women and also noted that the number of South Asian men with depression was growing too.

It was felt by members of the council that a practical response to the issue  was more favorable form of treatment than anti-depressants, despite both treatments having similar success rates in the study.

The group felt that user led services which provide activities and company for these women, as well as educating families, would be a good way to start tackling this issue.

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