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What and how you will learn

What and how you will learn
Image of a filming set including Shaykh Dr Asim Yusuf and Andrew Hilbourne
© Cardiff University, Asma Khan

Over the next four weeks, we’ll be learning together through a range of texts, videos, and short activities.

If you are new to online learning, you may find it useful to refer to this article: Using FutureLearn.

Keeping a Reflective Diary

Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to reflect upon and consider how you might use knowledge gained through completing the course to better understand, and discuss with others, how being Muslim might impact on mental health. This might be with the people you support, your colleagues and managers, or with the people responsible for designing and implementing mental health services and policies.

We ask you to keep a personal reflective diary or journal of your journey through the course. This might be in a notebook, or as a document on your laptop. We will prompt you to record your reflections at the end of each week, with some suggestions for what you might include. You might also find it useful to record other conversations or events that have taken place differently as a result of your learning on the course. It might also be helpful to include a note of the specific step, activity, or week you are reflecting upon.

It may be particularly useful to record your reflections when we cover sensitive topics such as racism and Islamophobia. We present what is known about these topics through robust research evidence on health inequalities among religious and ethnic minority groups. Please reflect carefully on your experiences, thoughts, and assumptions, and perhaps think about current practice in your field or profession and consider ways in which they might be improved.

Course Glossary

We have created a glossary that explain some specific terms mentioned throughout the course. Please feel free to download. We will signpost to it at the beginning of every week.

Learning Activities

And, of course, we encourage you to participate in learning activities that will include short quizzes and prompts for conversation and discussion with other learners around different steps in the course. The course has been designed for the broad range of people who provide mental health support in Muslim communities – by sharing your observations, thoughts, questions, and reflections you will enhance your understanding of Muslim mental health and practice your skills in discussing the topic with others.

Course Structure

Within each week of the course there are four or more activities, each including several steps. Most steps contain an informative and engaging piece of learning content, which will either develop your understanding of important concepts or contextual information or provide an example or case study to further develop your understanding. These steps may include discussion points for you to reflect upon and discuss your learning with others.

For video steps, please remember to read the description before watching, this will explain who is presenting the video and why the content is an important step in your learning journey. You might find it helpful to look at the ‘over to you’ points before watching, so you know what to look out for to engage in discussions with other learners.

Other steps are learning activities that will allow you to check your understanding or encourage you to apply your learning.

Here is a broad outline of the topics covered in each week:

In Week 1, you will be introduced to some of the important concepts and contextual information required to Understand Islam, Muslims, and Muslim mental health. Dr Yusuf will explain the relationship between religion and mental health for Muslims and outline a holistic approach to understanding Muslim mental problems. This is the bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach, or BPSS as you will hear it referred to. This is a thread that will run throughout the course. You will also gain familiarisation with core Islamic beliefs and practices, as well as some of the contextual information about Muslims and Muslim communities that is essential to understand their mental health experiences.

In Week 2, Muslim experiences and Islamic interpretations of mental health, we examine in detail two barriers to mental health support: stigma and Islamophobia. You will then be introduced to how mental health is understood in Islam, and how Islamic practices and beliefs can impact on mental health. You will consider ways in which knowledge of Islamic practices and beliefs and the Islamic perspectives on mental health might be incorporated into Islamically-informed mental health support using three different approaches which are Islamically-sensitive; Islamically-inclusive; and Islamically-indigenous.

In Week 3 we explore how Muslims experience five common mental health problems: depression; OCD; dementia; addiction; and psychosis. The aim of this week is to understand how Muslims might experience mental health problems in distinctive ways. There will be an overview of each mental health problem – followed by descriptive examples of Muslim experiences of each problem, and the impact of using one of the Islamically-informed approaches introduced in Week 2 when providing mental health support. Finally, Dr Yusuf explains what is meant by ‘recovery’ from mental health problems from an Islamic perspective.

In the final week of the course, we map the landscape of Muslim mental health in Britain, highlighting the work of key figures and organisations who work in the field. We also consider the potential for Muslim communities and organisations to play a greater important role in the development of better mental health among Muslims, either in collaboration with mainstream services or independently. We round-up the course with good practice guidance for practitioners, with a focus on cultural humility.

Over to you

Which element of the course are you most looking forward to, and why?

© Cardiff University, Asma Khan
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Understanding Muslim Mental Health

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