“ONE girl told us she had been self harming and her mum told her she had a jinn”.

A lack of education around mental health is one of the reasons a woman from Bolton has set up a support group called Changing Life Directions.

Zara Naveed has set up the group to improve awareness about issues of domestic violence, coercive behaviour and mental health, among vulnerable or disadvantage people.

She explained in the South Asian community mental health issues can be misunderstood and blamed on bad spirits. Ms Naveed said: “It can be seen as someone has wished something bad on you.”

Changing Life Directions has a team of volunteers and help fro professional counsellors and nurses to provide help and support.

Ms Naveed said they are running art and music therapy sessions as well as coffee mornings for men.

She said: “Especially in the South Asian community men feel like that can’t talk about their mental health.

“They can come and have a brew and a chat. A professional member of staff will be available to talk one on one.”

She added: “We want to encourage people to be more open.”

Changing Life Directions is based in All Souls, Astley Street, Halliwell and is having an event on June 12 to promote the charity and raise awareness of its work.

There will be a presentation, a counsellor and GP to talk about mental health and domestic violence, as well as refreshments and lunch.

To find out more visit changinglifedirections.co.uk online.