Bradford community worker recognised for providing mental health support to South Asian women
Image by Facebook @Kamran Iqbal Mughal
A community worker from Bradford has been recognised for her work in supporting South Asian Women struggling with mental health.
Saliha Sadiq, a woman of Pakistani descent, is the co-chair and director of mental health at the Millan Centre in Manningham and has over 25 years of experience in the sector.
She saw one of her friends struggle with mental health and was inspired to help countless women who go through similar issues.
For her efforts, she was awarded the Oracle Award last Tuesday and said she was honoured to have received it.
“South Asian women are sometimes torn between two cultures and are trying to balance them,” she said.
“The reality is, we’ve adopted both cultures. We’re proud to be British, and proud to be South Asian.
“But there is a struggle in maintaining that balance. As time goes on, you find your identity, but there’s so much pressure – both in the South Asian community and in wider British society.
“My parents were educated and wanted me to be independent – I was very lucky. But some of my friends, after school, just had to get married.
“I wanted to be their voice. That’s why I went back to university to get my counselling qualification.”
Sadiq devotes her time to working for the NHS during the day. Her focus, however, is not only on South Asian women, but also white British and Eastern European communities. Several men battling mental health issues have also been in touch with her for treatment.
She has been approached by more people since the pandemic started.
She revealed, “Mental health was always brushed under the carpet. But people started speaking out more during Covid.
“A lot of traumas they’d never spoken about came out, because they were isolated and everything was shut.
“I never turn anyone away. I go the extra mile and signpost people to services that can help.”
Sadiq also won the Yorkshire Prestige Award three months ago and has been invited as a speaker to at City Hall to mark the celebration of International Women’s Day at City Hall in Bradford today.
Upon winning the award, she said, “It’s very flattering. I’m proud.
“We still need to narrow the gap, and my message to people would be to come forward as we need more counsellors and qualified mental health practitioners.
“We can’t do this alone, there are still improvements to be made.”