Roma Support Group

The Roma Support Group (RSG) is a Roma-led Registered Charity (Charity No: 1103782) and a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and Wales (Company Registration Number 04645981) working with East European Roma refugees and migrants.

Since 1998 the RSG has worked with thousands of Roma families, offering them a variety of services, engaging the Roma community in all aspects of running and managing the organisation and promoting an understanding of Roma culture in the UK.

The Roma Support Group’s current Mental Health Advocacy Project aims to:
– Improve Roma community members’ access to mental health services;
– Empower Roma community members to communicate more openly about mental health issues;
– Improve mental health professionals’ knowledge of Roma culture and help them to communicate more effectively with Roma service users.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

The mental health advocacy team provides one-to-one support to clients in understanding mental health issues, identifying appropriate mental health services and explaining health needs to professionals. We additionally run monthly peer support group meetings in which project beneficiaries can come together and discuss issues and coping strategies in an open and supportive environment. To further facilitate our clients’ understanding of mental health, we have created leaflets for service users that explain common mental health issues and outline strategies for seeking out support.

To facilitate better communication between health professionals and Roma service users, we have produced an informational leaflet for health service staff. This leaflet outlines key cultural beliefs and health taboos, common barriers to health services and practical tips for working with Roma patients.

We also offer training sessions for health professionals, which are aimed at increasing awareness of Roma culture and providing effective communication and engagement techniques.

What are your current priorities?

Our current priorities are continuing working in partnership with NHS service, Newham Talking Therapies to deliver workshops focused on mental health and wellbeing in East London and working with Waterloo Community Counselling, supporting Roma community members to access counselling in community languages.

What challenges are you currently facing?

One of the main challenges we’re facing are the long waiting lists for NHS services and lack of language support, as well as often inadequate language support.