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Somali Hayaan Project

Somali Hayaan Project (Moving to a Better Place)
Funded by Kings Fund
CONTACT Abdi Gure – Project Coordinator
Email: [email protected]  Tel:020 8515 7872

The Hayaan Project launched in October 2010 and is the new evolution of the Somali Mental Health Advocacy Project, which was a research based project funded by the Kings Fund for three years.

The term ‘Hayaan’ in Somali is a nomadic term to mean ‘Moving on to a better place’. The project offers an innovative approach to build up an infrastructure within the community by recruiting and training a team of 'peer educators' from the local Somali communities to help increase awareness of and access to mental health support to the wider Somali community living in Harrow.

The Hayaan Project aims to

  • Help reduce the sense of isolation experienced by Somalis with mental health difficulties 
  • Help increase well being and self-confidence of Somali mental health service users 
  • Provide advocacy and interpreting support to Somali mental health service users to help them understand and access mental health and other social welfare services 

Who is it for?
The project is open to members from the Somali community living in Harrow. You must be 18 years and over and affected by mental health issues or supporting someone (Carer) who is affected by mental health issues.

What’s on offer?
If you or someone you know is affected by emotional distress/mental health issues and you/ they are experiencing problems in accessing services or you/they don’t know what sort of help they can access you should contact us to attend our Group sessions or Advocacy:

Group Sessions: You can attend our free sessions run by an Advocate and Peer Educators, which we hold every month at Harrow Healthy Living Centre, 38-40 High Street, Wealdstone, HA3 7AE and at 202 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush W12 7JP fortnightly on Thursdays between 12-2.30pm. Refreshments are provided. The free sessions include ‘Information Meetings’ and ‘Support Sessions’.

Information Meetings: At these meetings we invite professionals to talk about relevant issues impacting the community to ensure that people are kept up to date with services they can access, and to have an opportunity to meet the professionals who can support them e.g. housing, Jobcentre Plus, Health professionals etc.

Support Sessions: These sessions are open to members of the community to act as place where important issues are discussed and people offer mutual support.

Dates for Meetings:

Months 2020


Shepherds Bush




































End of year

You can also download the leaflet for these sessions.


Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, ensure their rights, present their interests and obtain services they need. 

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and are having difficulty in accessing appropriate services please contact Abdi Gure 020 8515 7872. 

Our brilliant Hayaan volunteers receiving their certificates!

Volunteers Needed

We recruit and train volunteers to take on the role as peer educators. Peer Educators support Somali mental health service users and their families by:

  • Arranging regular support meetings/lunch
  • Arranging regular information sessions (e.g mental health, GP’s, housing) 
  • Sharing the Somali cultural perspective with these service providers 
  • Acting as an interpreter and helping service users to talk with service providers and share their point of view 
  • Helping service users understand which services can help them 

If this is something which appeals to you then contact Abdi Gure on 020 8515 7872.

How to access the service
We accept self referrals, which means if you are interested in getting involved or attending workshops or getting an advocate please contact Abdi Gure on 020 8515 7872, [email protected]

You can also learn more about Hayaan by viewing the following video.

Olole Isbedel ‘Campaigning for Change’

The Hayaan Somali Mental Health Project has launched a new campaigning project called ‘Olole Isbedel’ in January 2014, which in Somali means ‘Campaigning for Change’.  We are very grateful to Trust for London for match-funding this project for 2 years.

Olole Isbedel aims to improve the way people from the Somali community experiencing mental health problems are supported by the criminal justice system and NHS mental health services.  Currently, many clients of the Hayaan Project become involved in the criminal justice system without their mental health needs being recognised or assessed properly.

Olole Isbedel wants to create change through:

  • Fortnightly workshops in Harrow and Brent to empower and inform people from the Somali communityˇ
  • Training members of the Somali community to be Campaignersˇ
  • Engaging staff from NHS, Criminal Justice organisations, Somali organisations and other mental health charities to join a Campaigns Group

For details, please download the Olole Isbedel leaflet with a diagram of the project's activities.

In February 2015, Mind in Harrow hosted a pan-London conference which transferred learnings across London about Mind in Harrow’s ‘Olole Isbedel’ campaign. The conference also launched a local evidence base report which attempts to explain the root causes of the Somali communities’ over representation in acute mental health services and the criminal justice system. The conference explored this local evidence base with reference to the recommendations made in the Bradley Report and the Department of Health’s Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat. The post conference report summarises the conference activities, learnings and the experiences of delegates. You can also view the speakers' presentations here:

How the Hayaan Project is funded

The project is funded by:

  • Trust for London