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Introduction to Week 4

Mapping the landscape of Muslim mental health support in Britain

Welcome to the fourth, and final, week of Understanding Muslim Mental Health. This week you will become familiar with the landscape of Muslim mental health support in Britain.

In Week 1 you were introduced to the idea that that Muslims may experience mental health problems in distinctive ways – because of their religiosity and contextual circumstances. You became familiar with the religious beliefs, practices, and worldview of Muslims and some of the contextual factors for diverse Muslim communities that might impact on their experiences of mental health. You were introduced to literature and research that demonstrates that there are disparities (or inequalities) in access to, and experiences of, mainstream mental health support provision among Muslims – and that how practitioners understand Muslims experiences of mental health may be an important factor in this.

In Week 2 you gained a detailed understanding of two barriers to mental health problems: stigma and Islamophobia. You were then introduced to the Islamic conceptualisation of mental health, and you considered how this relates to Western (or mainstream) understandings of mental health. You then explored the impact of Islamic practices and beliefs on mental health. You were introduced to some practical examples of bio-psycho-socio-spiritual approaches to mental health, described as Islamically-inclusive approaches in this course.

In Week 3, you gained a deeper understanding of how Muslims experience common mental health problems in distinctive ways, through considering practitioner case studies and lived experience accounts. This allowed you to explore in more detail the impact of Islamic beliefs on mental health and evaluate the inclusion of spiritual factors when considering causes of, and treatment for, mental health problems among Muslims.

In Week 4, you will be introduced to the landscape of mental health in terms of the organisations and individuals who seek to provide Islamically-inclusive (sensitive, informed or indigenous) mental health support. You will hear first-hand from practitioners and managers of services about their experiences of incorporating knowledge of Muslims and Islam into mental health support. These include:

  • mainstream mental health services working towards being more inclusive of Muslims
  • Muslim practitioners who work in mainstream services
  • practitioners working in third sector ethnic minority mental health services
  • Muslim mental health organisations and groups
  • religious practitioners working in faith-based settings (e.g. imams).

Through becoming familiar with this landscape, you will appreciate that British Muslim communities and organisations are increasingly aware of the importance of mental health. You will also become familiar with organisations, services and resources for further information and support around Islam, Muslims, and mental health.

Week 4 begins with some examples of organisations that seek to promote better understandings of Muslim mental health. Then, you will consider the mental health support role of Muslim communities, Muslim practitioners who work in mainstream services, and faith-based support from imams and in mosques. Later this week, you will appraise good practice guidance from practitioners, with a focus on cultural humility as a practice approach that all practitioners might consider undertaking – whether Muslim or non-Muslim, working from a mental health or religious perspective, in mosques or in mental health care settings.

This week, as throughout the course, you are encouraged to consider how you might adapt you own practice to better support Muslim mental health. As ever, please do engage in the discussion points to share your reflections and thoughts with other learners.

In the final activity this week, Dr Yusuf shares his reflections on what ‘recovery’ from mental health problems means from an Islamic perspective, you will check your understanding of this week’s learning by completing the self-assessment and poll step. In the final step of the course, Asma and Professor Gilliat-Ray summarise important take-away points for learners. The course will end with some prompts for the final entry of your reflective learning diary.

Course Glossary

Don’t forget, we have created a glossary that explains some of the specific terms mentioned within the course. Please feel free to download.

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Understanding Mental Health in Muslim Communities

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