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Cygnet Hospital Harrow celebrates diversity

On Wednesday 2nd October the team at Cygnet Hospital Harrow held an event celebrating diversity whilst at the same time promoting the destigmatisation of mental health in the community.

Joining service users and staff for the event were a number of specially invited guests including the Mayor of Harrow, Nitin Parekh as well as Councillor Sue Anderson and the professional chef Lyndon Wissart.

The Mayor gave a powerful speech during which he reminded the audience that Harrow is one of the most diverse communities in the UK, which is reflected in the diversity of its population. He also spoke highly of Professor Iqbal Singh, Consultant Psychiatrist, who is due to retire having worked at the hospital for 25 years.

In addition the Mayor spoke of the partnership work between Cygnet Hospital Harrow with Harrow College, Harrow Council’s specialist education department and the ‘Wiseworks’ project. The above partnerships have assisted in integrating services users into the Harrow community, enabling services users to access education and training opportunities – preparing them for hospital discharge and community life.

Some members of staff were invited to dress in their cultural garments and give a brief presentation about their country. Staff member Kanchan Lathia wore her traditional Sari and reminded us that it was Mohandas Gandi’s birthday on the 2nd October. Another team member, Gerald Mhlanga, then spoke about his Zimbabwean heritage.

Lyndon Wissart, chef and author of the book ‘Inspired Diabetic’ shared his experience on what caused his Type 2 diabetes, how he was diagnosed and reversed his diabetes by altering his life style by eating a healthy diet and exercising. Service users and staff were inspired by his story and the hospital shall be purchasing a few of his books for service users.

Some of the service users gave a presentation to the Mayor on a country of their choice. Another service user also had the opportunity to entertain everyone with a performance on a variety of percussion instruments.

“Giving a presentation to the mayor helped me to develop my confidence.”Service user, Cygnet Hospital Harrow

Overall the diversity day was a great success. Not only did it reinforce the close community links that the hospital has built up but it was also a fantastic celebration of the diversity of staff and service users at Cygnet Hospital Harrow.

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