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Islamically-sensitive approaches to mental health support – a manager’s perspective

A Muslim-sensitive approach to mental health support: a manager’s perspective

This step includes an excerpt from an interview with Samira Salter. Samira is Mental Health Support Manager at Diverse Cymru, a charity that provides mental health support to ethnic minority communities in Cardiff, Wales.

Many of the people supported by Diverse Cymru are Muslim. For example, they run a mental health support group for recent migrants and over 90% of the group of 50 are Muslim.

Asma had previously spoken to two Muslim mental health support workers at Diverse Cymru, and they had shared examples of how they worked with Muslim people and groups, making small adaptations to accommodate religious beliefs and practices. For example, one support worker explained how she had adapted a social coffee morning, changing it to a group Quran recitation session during Ramadan, to accommodate the majority of the group who were fasting at the time. When Asma asked these support workers what had enabled them to make these adjustments to their support work, they both said that it was because of their knowledge of Islam and Muslims, the relationships and trust they had with the groups and individuals they worked with, and most importantly, the leadership of their manager Samira who encourages them to work responsively and sensitively to provide mental health support.

During this interview, Asma had the opportunity to ask Samira about her approach to managing a support service, and meeting the needs of Muslims with mental health problems. Samira’s approach is Islamically-sensitive and person-centred and is one that most practitioners might be able to consider incorporating in their practice.

Over to you

Would you be able to make adjustments to the support you provide to meet the religious needs of the individuals and groups you work with to be Islamically-sensitive? What would support you to do this and would there be any obstacles to working in an Islamically-sensitive way?

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Understanding Mental Health in Muslim Communities

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