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Introduction to Week 3

Introduction to Week 3 by Dr Asma Khan
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Welcome to Week 3. This week you will take a closer look at five common mental health problems and consider how Muslims might experience them in distinctive ways through case studies presented by practitioners and Muslim people with lived experience of these mental health problems. Through these case studies, you will see how Muslim practitioners apply their knowledge about Islam and Muslims when providing mental health support. So the bio psycho socio spiritual model in practice. To begin, though, here is a recap of week’s one and two. In Week 1, you gained a contextual understanding of Muslim experiences of mental health in minority contexts and identified some of the distinctive ways in which Muslims experience and understand mental health problems.
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Through considering the contextual circumstances of diverse communities of Muslims in Britain, you have developed an understanding of why experiences of mental health problems vary between different groups of Muslims. In Week 2, keeping contextual factors in mind, you further developed your understanding of some of the particular barriers Muslims face in relation to their mental health, focusing on stigma and Islamophobia. You were introduced to how mental health is conceptually used in Islam and considered the differences between Western or secular and Islamic frameworks for understanding mental health. You explored in more detail how particular Islamic practices and beliefs could impact directly on mental health in positive and negative ways. In week one, Dr Yusuf introduced a holistic framework for understanding mental health.
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The bio psycho socio model. He suggested that when providing mental health support for Muslims, a bio psycho socio spiritual model might be more appropriate. Towards the end of Week 2, Dr Yusuf returned to the bio psycho socio spiritual model. He explained how through a more detailed understanding of the importance of mental health in Islam and the impact of religious beliefs and practices on Muslim mental health, the case for a holistic model that incorporates the spiritual aspects of people’s lives is made stronger. You considered three approaches to Islamically inclusive mental health support practice Islamic is Islamically sensitive, Islamically informed, and Islamic psychotherapy, and heard first-hand from expert practitioners about how these approaches are put into practice.
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So moving on to what you will cover in Week 3 this week, you will take a close look at five common mental health problems. These are depression, OCD, dementia, addiction and psychosis. These particular mental health problems were selected because they were the ones mentioned most often in the literature and by the practitioners and other experts we spoke to as we developed the course. Each mental health problem is taken as an example to demonstrate how it is experienced by Muslims and how Islamically inclusive approaches can help to provide meaningful mental health support to them.
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Practitioners told us that they needed clearer explanations of mental health problems particularly those practitioners who come across people with mental health problems in their day to day work, but who do not necessarily receive formal training in providing mental health support. This includes people like police officers, youth workers, social workers and imams. They told us that they needed information around recognizing symptoms and where to signpost people for further support, as well as information on how these problems are diagnosed and treated so they can tell people with mental health problems what they might expect when they do seek support. In response to this, we are joined by Dr Thanasi Hassoulas this week.
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Dr Hassoulas is a senior lecturer in psychological medicine and director of the MSc in Psychiatry programme at Cardiff University. Dr Hassoulas provides a comprehensive overview of each mental health problem from the perspective of mainstream mental health practice. You will find a link to access and download the PowerPoint slides that accompany each of Dr Hassoulas’ slides for each mental health problem so that you can keep them as a resource for your own reference. Dr Hassoulas uses the bio psycho socio framework to explain each of the mental health problems. After the explanation of each mental health problem from a mainstream mental health perspective, you will see how this mental health problem is recognised and experienced from the religious perspective.
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Through written articles and videos, you will be presented with case studies and accounts from practitioners and Muslims with lived experience. You will gain an understanding of how Muslims might experience these mental health problems in distinctive ways and valuable insights into how Islamically inclusive approaches can benefit Muslims who are experiencing these problems. The approaches most often used are Islamically informed or Islamically sensitive mental health support. Currently, Islamically indigenous approaches like Islamic psychology are less common. You will find discussion points towards the end of some steps. Please do join in with conversations with your fellow learners.
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The week will end with a quiz for you to check your understanding, followed by a recap of this week’s learning and a quick look forward to Week 4, ending as ever with some prompts for your reflective diary In the next step, you will find out more about depression, which is the first common mental health problem. addressed this week.

Welcome to Week 3. This week you will take a closer look at five common mental health problems, to consider how they are understood from an Islamic perspective, how Muslims might experience them in distinctive ways and how an Islamically-informed approach to support might be beneficial.

In Week 1, you gained a contextual understanding of Muslim experiences of mental health in minority contexts and identified some of the distinctive ways in which Muslims experience and understand mental health problems.

In Week 2, keeping contextual factors in mind, you further developed your understanding of some of the particular barriers Muslims face in relation to their mental health, focusing on 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. You explored in more detail how particular Islamic practices and beliefs can impact directly on mental health, in positive and negative ways.

You are now familiar with the bio-psycho-socio-spiritual framework for understanding Muslim mental health. Dr Yusuf has explained that through a more detailed understanding of the importance of mental health in Islam, and an awareness of the impact of religious beliefs and practices on Muslim mental health, practitioners can work within this framework to provide more appropriate mental health support for Muslims.

You have considered three approaches to Islamically-inclusive mental health support practice: Islamically-sensitive; Islamically-informed; and Islamic Psychotherapy, and heard first-hand from expert practitioners how these approaches are put into practice.

In Week 3, you will take a closer look at five common mental health problems, these are: depression; OCD; dementia; addiction and psychosis. Each mental health is taken as an example to demonstrate how it might be experienced distinctively by Muslims, and how an Islamically-inclusive approach to mental health support might be particularly meaningful and, therefore, effective.

Practitioners who come across people with mental health problems in their day-to-day work, but do not necessarily receive formal training in providing mental health support, told us that they needed clear explanations of mental health problems. These practitioners included police officers, youth workers, social workers, and imams. They asked for information on how to recognise symptoms, where to signpost people for further support, and information on how these problems are diagnosed and treated.

In response to this, we are joined by Dr Athanasios Hassoulas this week. Dr Hassoulas is Senior Lecturer in Psychological Medicine and Director of the MSc in Psychiatry programme at Cardiff University. Dr Hassoulas provides a comprehensive overview of each mental health problem from the perspective of mainstream mental health practice. You will find a link to access and download the PowerPoint slides that accompany Dr Hassoulas’ explanation for each mental health problem to keep as a resource for your own reference.

After this ‘mainstream’ explanation of each mental health problem, you will learn how it is recognised and experienced from a religious perspective through written articles, videos, and case studies that include lived experience accounts. You will gain an understanding of the ways in which an Islamically-inclusive approach can benefit Muslims who experience mental health problems. The approaches most often used are Islamically-informed or Islamically-sensitive mental health, Islamically-indigenous approaches like Islamic Psychology are, currently, less common.

You will find ‘over to you’ discussion points towards the end of some steps. The week will end with a set of multiple-choice questions to check your understanding, followed by a recap of this week’s learning and a quick look forward to Week 4. Ending, as ever, with some prompts for your reflective 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 Muslim Mental Health

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