Raza takes Equally Well to the streets
Equally Well Ambassador and refugee and asylum seeker advocate, Reza Rostami has quite literally taken to the streets to spread the Equally Well message and provide hope and connection for people in community who are struggling to maintain their physical health while living with a mental illness.
Born out of his own story seeking asylum in Australia from his home country of Iran together with his wife and two daughters, Reza understands first-hand the impact that poor mental health has on being physically well.
“I was in a very poor place for a while when we came to Australia around 10 years ago, I had PTSD and really struggled, but with help and support from my community I was able to get better and build a wonderful life here in a safe country with my family and now it’s my turn to give back.”
Reza has founded the Asylum and Refugee Help Association which runs free activity clinics for young people in his community near Ryde in Sydney. He has also personally translated many of the health promotion resources from the Equally Well website into three languages, and at his own expense printed and shared these resources at events like the Ryde Community Festival, to help spread the word and share these important messages.
Reza is an experienced psychologist who completed his training in clinical psychology. He coordinated large clinical research program include with the World health organisation, United Nations. Reza also coordinated the first in the world to examine the impact of Asylum policies on children and families living in community.
With a professional background in adolescent psychiatry, Reza is completing a PhD at University of NSW exploring the challenges to child and adolescent metal health in re-settled refugee communities in Australia.
“With my professional background in clinical psychology, child and adolescent mental health and research my focus is on working with young people in refugee communities around where I live in Sydney, as I know when the kids get the message about the importance of being active and staying healthy, they will pass that on to the parents and so the message will spread,” he said.
His goal is to expand his contact database of 500 people to 2000 by the end of the year and with the recent support from the community at the Ryde Community event, it looks like he is well on his way.
Reza is a living example of the power of the Collective Impact approach, on which Equally Well was founded, in using his influence to do what he can, where he can, to raise awareness and empower refugees and asylum seekers in his community living with mental illness, to seek help to ensure they get the right physical health support when and where they need it most.
Reza was recently recognised by the City of Ryde for his contrition to his community with a nomination in the 2023 Volunteer Recognition Award.
You can read more about Reza and his commitment to Equally Well in his Ambassador profile on our website.