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Recommendations for imams and mosques

Dr Sidat makes some recommendations for imams and mosques around providing mental health support, based on findings from the Imams Project
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What we also found was that mosques can do more by supporting and funding the training of imams, alongside raising awareness among their congregants of mental health issues, and where to go to if they do have suspected issues of mental health. So this is something that’s been mentioned by imams as well. I’ve just included some quotes from imams as well. But, you know, one imam says here, for example, it’s considered to be a taboo and so forth. Magic and so forth. So this is something that’s very, very useful. I also think that beyond this, the imams and mosques running more courses, raising more awareness. I have mentioned imams can play, mosques can play a role themselves.
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And I think one of the ways they can do this is by, for example, if funds permit become regional hubs, where people can seek professional help. So people can go to these places to receive help or mosques can come together and one mosque in an area, for example, can become a hub for supporting people as well. So this is something that’s been mentioned as well. This is a statement from another imam as well. And so training on providing counselling for mental health problems. As a result, it’s also important to create networks and opportunities for imams and professionals to come together. I think it’s really, really important to bring the imam and the particular health care professionals together as well.
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And so this requires finding opportunities for them to sit together and even shadow each other, potentially, to appreciate what each of their respective roles involve. Perhaps more online and weekend courses for imams and people who are involved in mosque management. It’s also worth bearing in mind that Islam is obviously a faith tradition. So it is just as important for healthcare professionals to appreciate the importance of faith in the healing process. Of course, mental health comes with its own stigma. So providing guidance on how to overcome this particular challenge is also important as well.
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Now, what’s very fascinating, And very, very encouraging at the same time, is that many imams are taking on the initiative themselves, and are taking on courses to better serve their congregation. So here’s an example of an imam who was doing exactly that. He is another imam who saw it as part of his own self-development to learn more about mental health related issues as well. Now, it’s also very important to bear in mind that many imams themselves, of course, are often overworked and stressed. So they also need some help themselves. So training for them as imams to manage stress, to manage workload, is also important.
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And we know that intervention of imams, sometimes in tandem with medical professionals can make a tangible, positive difference to congregants lives. I’ve just put one example here of how that has happened, where imams involvement in the process have made an impact on the congregants life. So I hope that’s been useful. I’ve just provided you with an insight into how mental health issues are common in Muslim, in the Muslim community. Imams are trusted people that the congregants go to. They, themselves could do with more training and coming closer, coming closer together with religious, the coming together of, religious and health professionals coming closer together. And also that imams themselves are sometimes overworked and stressed themselves.
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And they could also do training in terms of their own self-development as well. Hope that’s been useful. And I look forward to hearing from you all very, very soon. Thank you.

In this step, Dr Sidat makes some recommendations for imams and mosques around providing mental health support, based on findings from the Imams Project.

  • Mosques to fund training around mental health for imams and raising awareness of mental health problems among congregants.
  • The development of regional hubs for mental health training for imams.
  • Building networks for co-learning between imams and mental health professionals.
  • Providing Islamically-informed support and guidance that can tackle mental health stigma.
  • The work of imams can be intense and stressful, so they need support to look after their own mental health too.

Signposting

BBSI Mental Health Toolkit for Imams, Scholars and Mosques.

Find out more about the Understanding British Imams Project, at Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, Cardiff University.

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Understanding Muslim Mental Health

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