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Women's conference in Gravesend discusses mental health and modern slavery

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 September 2019

Gurvinder Sandher, CEO of Kent Equality Council Counci, with Carol Gosal, service manager of Rethink Sahayak Mental Health.  Picture: Kent Equality Cohesion Council

Gurvinder Sandher, CEO of Kent Equality Council Counci, with Carol Gosal, service manager of Rethink Sahayak Mental Health. Picture: Kent Equality Cohesion Council

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An annual women's conference has been deemed a success by organisers in Gravesend.

The conference discussed concerns including mental health and modern slavery. Picture: Kent Equality Cohesion CouncilThe conference discussed concerns including mental health and modern slavery. Picture: Kent Equality Cohesion Council

The Sadi Awaz Suno Women's Conference took place at The Woodville on Thursday, September 19. Its titles translates to "listen to our voices".

The aim was to raise awareness of issues relating to mental health, modern day slavery, alcohol abuse and general well-being issues that are not always understood or discussed within some of the communities locally, who hail from the Indian sub-continent.

The conference was organised by Kent Equality Cohesion Council and Rethink Mental Illness Sahayak Services with the support of the Gravesham Borough Council-led Altogether Safer Project.

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The audience of around 300 women heard from Kent Police's Kris Eberlein about the work that is being done to tackle modern day slavery, what to look out for and some of the barriers Kent Police have found with victims coming forward.

He was joined by Kulbir Pasricha who spoke about honour based abuse, forced marriage and the help and support available around these issues. The key note speakers Bhupinder Kullar and Gurbax Kaur from the Sikh Recovery Network spoke about the importance of making use of support services and to move away from the cultural norms that exist within some communities from the Indian sub-continent, where alcoholism isn't necessarily understood or addressed.

Gurvinder Sandher, CEO of the Kent Equality Cohesion Council, said: "Mental health or alcohol abuse does not discriminate; they can happen in any community, whilst issues such as modern day slavery and forced marriages are prevalent in some communities more than others.

"That is why events like this are so important to raise awareness of issues that are not openly discussed amongst communities from the Indian sub-continent and to provide information where people can go for further help and support."

Carol Gosal, Rethink Mental Illness service manager for Kent, said: "It is important that we continue to educate the local community especially those who have English as a second language where they need to go for help and support if they or members of their family require it."

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