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Week 2 reflection and looking forward to Week 3

We reflect on week 2 and look forward to week 3
© Cardiff University, Asma Khan

This week, you have you have developed your understanding of Muslim mental health and deepened your contextual understanding of Muslim experiences of mental health.

You examined in detail two particular barriers Muslims face in relation to their mental health – stigma and Islamophobia.

You were introduced to how mental health is conceptualised in Islam and considered the differences between Western (or secular) and Islamic frameworks for understanding mental health – to allow you to consider and evaluate the inclusion of spiritual or religious factors as part of a holistic understanding of mental health problems among Muslims.

You explored in more detail how particular Islamic practices and beliefs can impact directly on mental health, in positive and negative ways. In doing so, you identified some of the distinctive ways in which Muslims experience mental health problems.

Towards the end of this week, Dr Yusuf returned to the bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model. He explained how this week of learning has demonstrated how a more detailed understanding of the importance of mental health in Islam, and a recognition of the impact of religious beliefs and practices on Muslim mental health, strengthens the case for a holistic model of mental that incorporates and values the spiritual aspects of people’s lives.

Importantly, you learnt that there is space for “cross-fertilisation” between Islamic and Western approaches to mental health. There are a number of ways that approaches to mental health can be ‘Islamically-informed’ to ‘operationalise’ (or make use of) the bio-psycho-social-spiritual (or BPSS) holistic framework. You considered three approaches to Islamically-inclusive mental health support practice: Islamically-sensitive; Islamically-informed; and Islamic Psychotherapy – and heard first-hand from expert practitioners about how these approaches can be put into practice.

Moving on to Week 3, we will take a closer look at five common mental health problems, to consider how Muslims might experience them in distinctive ways and to evaluate the inclusion of Islamically-informed approaches to dealing with them. These mental health problems include: depression; OCD; dementia; addiction and psychosis. The week will include case studies of Muslim experiences of these mental health problems presented by practitioners, and Muslim people with lived experience of these mental health problems.

And finally, don’t forget to complete your reflective diary for this week. Reflect on your learning journey so far and any thoughts you have had about your own practice and how this might be different. Here are some suggested prompts for your reflections.

Reflective diary prompts

How do you feel about what you have learnt about Islamophobia and mental health week this week? Has it challenged any assumptions you might hold, or confirmed things you already knew? Might you do anything differently as a result of what you have learnt?

Think about ways you might raise the topics of stigma and Islamophobia, or religious practices and beliefs, with Muslim people to explore their impacts on mental health.

Do you agree or disagree that Islamophobia is a form of racism in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims as, ‘ Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness’.

Please feel free to share these thoughts below in the comments section.

© Cardiff University, Asma Khan
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Understanding Muslim Mental Health

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