Dawn Edge’s Story
Dr Dawn Edge travelled to Canada and the USA in 2014, and Jamaica and Barbados in 2015, to explore different approaches to supporting African-Caribbean people with mental health issues.
Dawn is a Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor and The University of Manchester’s Academic Lead for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. Prior to her Fellowship, Dawn had become extremely concerned about the management of mental health issues among the African-Caribbean diaspora in the UK. Her particular focus was on schizophrenia as UK studies claim African-Caribbean people are nine times more likely to suffer from schizophrenia than their White British peers. She wanted to identify good practice in other healthcare systems and engage with world-leading academics undertaking research into health disparities to develop more culturally-appropriate psychological treatments.
Highlights from the North American leg of Dawn’s Fellowship included observing the work of the multi-award-winning organisation Healthy African Caribbean Families (HAAF) in Los Angeles, who work with community members and academics to develop public health education and effective, sustainable healthcare solutions, and visiting Midnight Mission on ‘Skid Row’, also in Los Angeles, meeting people whose lives had been transformed and were now supporting others out of substance misuse and homelessness, and into work and education.
In Barbados, Dawn met with the British High Commissioner, the World Health Organisation representative, and was invited to give evidence to their Mental Health Commission. In Jamaica, she observed first-hand the pioneering work of Community Mental Health Teams in integrating mental and physical healthcare.
Watch Dawn talk about her Fellowship on the “Morning Barbados” TV programme
Dawn credits her Fellowship with providing great inspiration and impetus for her work. Since returning, she has worked to develop more culturally-appropriate psychological interventions and resources for people diagnosed with psychosis and schizophrenia, including family therapy and ‘e-learning’.
She is exploring the untapped potential of Faith-based Organisations (FBOs) to engage in stigma reduction and mental health promotion. In 2015, she organised a ‘Faith & Dementia’ conference to identify service needs and research priorities, and in 2016 she co-authored a paper on this subject.
Dawn’s Fellowship has engendered a truly global perspective to her work. In October 2016, she was awarded a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) grant to return to Jamaica to continue working with FBOs, patients, carers, faith leaders, the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders. Dawn is currently collaborating on teaching and research in Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean and was recently invited to speak about her work at the World Psychiatric Association Congress in South Africa.