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Anawim mental health project

Region: West Midlands

Location: Birmingham

Delivery partners: Anawim and Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Trust


This project is a partnership between the Anawim women's centre and local mental health services to help women with mental health problems and multiple co-existing needs to access appropriate mental health support.

This project is part of our National Development Programme

Project type: Service delivery

Project status: Active


Project details

Anawim women's centre in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, is a day centre for vulnerable women. It acts as a one-stop shop into services for women with multiple problems such as substance misuse, poverty, homelessness and domestic violence. Increasingly Anawim is also receiving women offenders who have been sentenced by the courts to undertake unpaid work or a specified activity at the centre. 27 different services come into Anawim, providing support around issues such as drug and alcohol, housing and benefits. The centre provides food, clothes, social activities, educational classes and a creche for children whilst the women engage.

Although many of the women appeared to the Anawim staff to require some mental health support and often disclosed previous involvement with mental health services, prior to the pilot the centre had poor links with primary or secondary mental health services.

The West Midlands project is working in partnership with Anawim and local mental health services to help women at the centre access appropriate mental health support. A mental health nurse from the dual diagnosis field is seconded one day a week from secondary mental health services, and offers one-to-one appointments and drop–in sessions as well as training and support to Anawim staff. The mental health nurse offers a consultancy/ information service, specific screening assessments, onward referral and follow up work, navigating care pathways for women within mainstream mental health services.

The project was initially funded by Offender Health as part of Revolving Doors' National Development Programme. In addition, the project has been supported by Anawim, who  provide office space; and the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust, who provide staff supervision and secretariat.

Following highly promising findings from the first year, funding for the second year of the pilot has been secured from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust.


An analysis of the early findings from the West Midlands project at Anawim has recently been undertaken by West Midlands Offender Health and is available to download here. This report gives more information about the needs of these women and presents case studies which indicate the difficulties they have faced in accessing appropriate mental health care and how the project has worked to overcome these barriers.

An article in the journal Advances in Dual Diagnosis (Vol 4, Issue 2, 2011) published by Emerald Insight considers the early findings from this partnership project. A way through the woods: opening pathways to mental health care for women with multiple needs can be downloaded from the publisher's website, here. A copy of this article can also be downloaded from our website, here.


For further information about the project please contact Lynne Johnson at