Awakening Minds, Breaking Shackles

Mental Health Challenges in the South Asian Community

Made By Mortals is co-producing a project which focuses on some of the challenges facing women in the South Asian community. We are hearing women talk about how the topic of domestic abuse is often hidden, and not spoken about. Subsequently, this affects their mental health and relationships within their communities.

Raising Awareness

The audio play tells the story of a fictional character who has left an abusive situation but still lives with the consequences of this decision. It challenges listeners to take a walk in someone else’s shoes – reducing stigma and raising awareness.

Thank you to The National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery Players who enable us to undertake this project through their generous funding.

From our previous projects, we know our work significantly reduces social isolation. Additionally, it can positively impact the mental health of those creating the audio play, and those who listen to it.

Dr Saqba Batool, a Research Associate at the University of Manchester is supporting us with this project

The Research

The Office for National Statistics reported that 3.4% of South Asian women aged 16-74 were subjected to domestic violence in 2017-20181.

Research shows domestic abuse in South Asian communities occurs more than is known or reported. Often it is hidden to upkeep ‘izzat’ (honour), not to bring shame onto a marriage or family. Also, there is a perception that abuse is a ‘normal’ part of a relationship2. Women can find it difficult to talk or get help. This is due to many factors including having no access to money, fear of not being believed and not having cultural needs understood. Women who have asked for help and leave their abusive situation are often let down by professionals consequently negatively impacting their wellbeing and health.

Creativity & Mental Health

The participants of this project are working with creative practitioners to share their stories. These are interwoven and brought to life through spoken word and original music. Performed and created by the whole group we are recording both remotely and in person. Co-producing an audio play means people can take part safely and anonymously which is particularly important to those living with domestic abuse. Mental wellbeing is a challenge for everyone right now and many feel a stigma and shame attached to these mental health challenges. Finding a creative way to explore these feelings and challenges can bring about great positive change. 


1 Office for National Statistics (2018).

2 Sandhu, K.K. and Barrett, H.R., 2020. “Should I Stay, or Should I Go?”: The Experiences of, and Choices Available to Women of South Asian Heritage Living in the UK When Leaving a Relationship of Choice Following Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Social Sciences9(9), p.151.

3 Thiara, R.K. and Gill, A.K., 2010. Understanding violence against South Asian women. Violence against women in South Asian communities40(6), pp.29-54.

The audio play will soon be available on our website.

Read more about how our Hidden programme challenges people to walk in another person’s shoes.

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