Skip main navigation

Hurry, only 2 days left to get one year of Unlimited learning for £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Good practice guidance – cultural humility and professional curiosity

Masira Hans thinks that all practitioners can practice with ‘cultural humility'

In this video, Masira Hans, Severe Mental Illness Programme Manager at Mind in Bradford, responds to a question from Asma. Asma asks whether it is only Muslim practitioners who can work with Muslim people with mental health problems in a way that is informed about, and sensitive to, their religion and spirituality.

Masira thinks that all practitioners can practice with ‘cultural humility’ (not presuming that your culture should be the norm for all people, and the desire to learn about other cultures) as an approach that all practitioners can use to ask people about their experiences. Cultural humility is explained in more detail in the next step. She emphasises that humility, kindness, and empathy are essential tools when providing mental health support. A basic level of awareness of religious practices and beliefs, such as fasting during Ramadan, can also be helpful.

Masira gives an example of working with a Muslim woman who held a belief that she should not leave her home for forty days after giving birth. This belief is common in South Asian cultures and is related to post-natal bleeding as ritual impurity. Other agencies were concerned that this woman was not engaging with support for her mental health problems because she did not attend appointments. Masira felt that it was a simple matter of asking the woman why she had not attended appointments, which Masira did, and she was subsequently able to explain to others why this woman could not engage with support services during that period.

Masira recommends that practitioners should work with service-users to incorporate spirituality into mental health care plans for Muslims, in ways that work for them.

Over to you

Think of a question that you might ask a Muslim about a religious belief or practice that would help you to understand how it might impact on their mental health. Consider carefully how you would ask this question in a way that is sensitive and displays cultural humility. Share your question below, see if you can answer the questions put by other learners, or suggest improvements to any questions.

This article is from the free online

Understanding Mental Health in Muslim Communities

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now