A NEW policy and research organisation focussing on BAME communities has launched in Bolton.

CareStart is aiming to use their expertise to take a culturally sensitive approach to mental health, rehabilitation and social mobility.

Stigma around mental health remains in certain communities for a range of cultural, historical and religious reasons, with CareStart aiming to break that cycle, the organisation says.

The charity was set up by Dr Ayesha Khan, from Bolton, who hopes the organisation become the go-to research group for public bodies and decision makers.

She said: “We are trying to take a sensitive approach to our work and this organisation is for everyone, but we are putting a lot of focus on BAME communities and the stigma they can face.

“We are all about reducing stigma in those communities and it is something we will be working to do.”

Their website was launched a few days ago and they have already published their first policy report - a look into the impact of Covid-19 on BAME mental health.

Through their research and public consultations, CareStart is aiming to send their key findings to policymakers and practitioners to help influence meaningful change for grassroots initiatives. They also plan on providing rehabilitation where possible, for example, aiding jailed offenders return to normal life.

Dr Khan hopes the reports the organisation publishes will have a huge impact on the way healthcare systems operate in the country.

She said: “I think a lot of practitioners will misinterpret attitudes of their patients. If a patient isn’t very responsive to support, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want it, it just might mean they need further education on it. And it’s that stigma many communities have that we want to raise awareness about. I have wanted to do this for a long time. We are doing this to make meaningful change in our communities.”