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Islamically informed mental health support

Islamically informed mental health support

In this video, Masira Hans, Severe Mental Illness Programme Manager for Mind in Bradford, provides a detailed case study of providing support using an Islamically-informed approach. Masira studied Islamic scripture for a number of years before completing a degree in Psychology.

This case study is from Masira’s previous work for a BME mental health charity. Masira describes supporting a young person who was displaying symptoms of OCD around ritual washing (ablution or wudu). Masira worked with the young person over twelve sessions, over a number of months.

Masira outlines the trauma that the young person experienced that contributed to her mental health problems, including sexual abuse. If learners are affected by any of the issues described in this video, contact details for sources of immediate support are included below.

Masira describes how she built rapport with the young woman, this included reassuring the young person that Masira would not be judgmental from a religious perspective. As you can see in the video, Masira is visibly Muslim because she wears the hijab. This was significant to the young person because her own religious identity and practice formed part of her understanding of her mental health problem, the distress she was experiencing, and her response to mental health support.

Masira was able to incorporate her knowledge of Islamic scripture and religious practices with psychological talking therapy in the support she provided for the young person. She worked with the young person to reframe her understanding of Islam, from seeing it as a source of punishment to one of acceptance, forgiveness, and peace. Masira guided her to incorporate dhikr (remembrance of Allah) into breathing exercises as a form of mindfulness. With regard to wudu, Masira provided guidance to the young person, backed up by Islamic scripture, on how to correctly perform ablutions and how to deal with doubt from an Islamic perspective.

The young person’s anxiety around wudu decreased over the time Masira worked with her and she became more confident and happier and, over time, was beginning to realise that the trauma she had experienced was not her fault.

Sources of support

Muslim Youth Helpline (online chat). Helpline: 0808 808 2008. Email – Muslim Youth Helpline.

Samaritans. Helpline: 116 123

NHS 24 Helpline number. Dial 111 and select the mental health option.

The Mix (under 25s only). Helpline number: 0808 808 4994. Text service: 85258

Over to you

Make a note in your reflective diary about whether, how, and why you might consider including this approach as part of your practice so that you are ready to take part in the discussion step for this week (Step 2.27).

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Understanding Mental Health in Muslim Communities

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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