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Introduction to Week 4

Mapping the landscape of Muslim mental health support in Britain
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Welcome to the fourth and final week of Understanding Muslim Mental Health. This week you will become familiar with the landscape of Muslim mental health support in Britain.
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Whilst most Muslims in Britain are eligible to receive all forms of mainstream mental health support available to the wider population, research suggests that they do not access support services at the same rates as other groups, and when they do, they have poorer outcomes. Throughout the course, you have learned about some of the common barriers that Muslims can face when accessing mental health support, some of which we have suggested can be addressed through better understanding of Islam, Muslims and Islamic conceptualisations of mental health. This can be important among those who provide mental health support including Muslim and non-Muslim practitioners and those working in either faith based or mainstream support settings.
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We will focus this week on the organisations and practitioners who provide mental health support that reflect the three approaches to Islamically. inclusive mental health support have been highlighted in this course. So why focus on Islamically inclusive approaches? In Week one, you were introduced to the idea that Muslims may experience mental health problems in distinctive ways because of their religiosity and their contextual circumstances. You became familiar with the religious beliefs, practices and worldview of Muslims and some of the contextual factors for diverse Muslim communities that might impact on their experiences of mental health.
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You were introduced to literature and research that demonstrates that there are disparities or inequalities in access to and experiences of mainstream mental health support provision among Muslims and how practitioners understand Muslim experiences of mental health may be an important factor in this. In Week Two, you gained a detailed understanding of two barriers to accessing mental health support, stigma and Islamophobia, as with many identified barriers for Muslims when accessing mental health support, these are also risk factors for mental health problems. You were then introduced to Islamic conceptualisations of mental health, and you considered how this relates to Western or mainstream understandings of mental health. You explored the impact of Islamic practices and beliefs on mental health.
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At the end of Week 2, you were introduced to some practical examples of bias psycho socio spiritual approaches to mental health, what the course educators have described as Islamically inclusive approaches. These were, Islamically sensitive, which fits well within mainstream approaches to culturally sensitive and person centred approaches to mental health support. Islamically inclusive, which requires more detailed knowledge of Islam to incorporate practices and beliefs into established mainstream therapies. And finally, Islamically indigenous, a bottom up approach that is based on and requires detailed knowledge of Islam and the Islamic framework for understanding mental health. In Week 3, you gained a deeper understanding of how Muslims experience common mental health problems in distinctive ways through considering practitioner case studies and lived experience accounts.
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This allowed you to explore in more detail the impact of Islamic beliefs on mental health and to evaluate the inclusion of spiritual factors when considering the causes of and treatment for mental health problems among Muslims. Throughout the course, we have encouraged you to reflect on how you might create spaces where Muslims can feel comfortable talking about their mental health and their religion, whether in religious or mental health support environments. So an outline of Week 4. This week we consider the landscape of mental health in relation to the organizations and individuals who seek to provide Islamically inclusive, whether sensitive, informed or indigenous mental health support.
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We hear first-hand from practitioners and managers of services providing mental health support and their experiences of incorporating knowledge of Muslims and Islam in the mental health support they provide. These include mainstream mental health services working towards being more inclusive of Muslims, Muslim practitioners who work in mainstream services, practitioners working in third sector ethnic minority mental health services, Muslim mental health organisations and groups and religious practitioners working in faith based settings such as imams. Through becoming familiar with the landscape of Muslim mental health support, you will appreciate that there is a growing awareness of the importance of mental health in British Muslim communities.
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This often involves making links between mental health and Islamic beliefs and values and using religious practices as tools for achieving better mental health. In this way, Muslims can come to see that nurturing their mental health is part of their personal growth and development as Muslims. As Dr. Rothman told us in Week 2, being a good Muslim is about the journey and not the destination. Based on this knowledge, we ask you to consider how you might adapt your own practice to better support Muslim mental health.
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You may also get an idea of who to contact for further support and advice around Islam, Muslim and mental health, Week 4 begins with some examples of organisations that seek to promote better understandings of Muslim mental health. You will move on to consider the role of Muslim communities, Muslim practitioners who work in mainstream services, and faith based support from imams and in mosques.
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You will be presented with some good practice guidance from practitioners with a focus on cultural humility as a practice approach that all practitioners might consider undertaking, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, working from a mental health or religious perspective, in mosques or in mental health care settings. Finally, Doctor Yusuf shares his perspective on what recovery from mental health problems means from an Islamic perspective. You will consider key takeaway learning points from Understanding Muslim Mental Health and complete the final quiz for the course. As ever, please do engage in the discussion points to share your reflections and thoughts with other learners. The course will end with some prompts for the final entry of your reflective learning diary.

Welcome to the fourth, and final, week of Understanding Muslim Mental Health. This week you will become familiar with the landscape of Muslim mental health support in Britain.

In Week 1 you were introduced to the idea that that Muslims may experience mental health problems in distinctive ways – because of their religiosity and contextual circumstances. You became familiar with the religious beliefs, practices, and worldview of Muslims and some of the contextual factors for diverse Muslim communities that might impact on their experiences of mental health. You were introduced to literature and research that demonstrates that there are disparities (or inequalities) in access to, and experiences of, mainstream mental health support provision among Muslims – and that how practitioners understand Muslims experiences of mental health may be an important factor in this.

In Week 2 you gained a detailed understanding of two barriers to mental health problems: stigma and Islamophobia. You were then introduced to the Islamic conceptualisation of mental health, and you considered how this relates to Western (or mainstream) understandings of mental health. You then explored the impact of Islamic practices and beliefs on mental health. You were introduced to some practical examples of bio-psycho-socio-spiritual approaches to mental health, described as Islamically-inclusive approaches in this course.

In Week 3, you gained a deeper understanding of how Muslims experience common mental health problems in distinctive ways, through considering practitioner case studies and lived experience accounts. This allowed you to explore in more detail the impact of Islamic beliefs on mental health and evaluate the inclusion of spiritual factors when considering causes of, and treatment for, mental health problems among Muslims.

In Week 4, you will be introduced to the landscape of mental health in terms of the organisations and individuals who seek to provide Islamically-inclusive (sensitive, informed or indigenous) mental health support. You will hear first-hand from practitioners and managers of services about their experiences of incorporating knowledge of Muslims and Islam into mental health support. These include:

  • mainstream mental health services working towards being more inclusive of Muslims
  • Muslim practitioners who work in mainstream services
  • practitioners working in third sector ethnic minority mental health services
  • Muslim mental health organisations and groups
  • religious practitioners working in faith-based settings (e.g. imams).

Through becoming familiar with this landscape, you will appreciate that British Muslim communities and organisations are increasingly aware of the importance of mental health. You will also become familiar with organisations, services and resources for further information and support around Islam, Muslims, and mental health.

Week 4 begins with some examples of organisations that seek to promote better understandings of Muslim mental health. Then, you will consider the mental health support role of Muslim communities, Muslim practitioners who work in mainstream services, and faith-based support from imams and in mosques. Later this week, you will appraise good practice guidance from practitioners, with a focus on cultural humility as a practice approach that all practitioners might consider undertaking – whether Muslim or non-Muslim, working from a mental health or religious perspective, in mosques or in mental health care settings.

This week, as throughout the course, you are encouraged to consider how you might adapt you own practice to better support Muslim mental health. As ever, please do engage in the discussion points to share your reflections and thoughts with other learners.

In the final activity this week, Dr Yusuf shares his reflections on what ‘recovery’ from mental health problems means from an Islamic perspective, you will check your understanding of this week’s learning by completing the self-assessment and poll step. In the final step of the course, Asma and Professor Gilliat-Ray summarise important take-away points for learners. The course will end with some prompts for the final entry of your reflective learning 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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