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Welcome to the course

Welcome to the course
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Welcome to Understanding Muslim Mental Health. My name is Asma Khan. I am Research Fellow in British Muslim Studies at the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University. I led the development of the course and I am one of the educators I will introduce each week of the course so you will see me regularly on your learning journey. I also worked with our expert contributors to the course so you may see or hear me in some of the video content. I have written some of the articles in the course, particularly those relating to the socioeconomic circumstance of Muslim families and communities in Britain, which is my area of specialist research.
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To begin, What is the need for this course? Understanding Muslim Mental Health meets an important need to improve mental health support for Muslims. The World Health Organization states that mental health problems are a pressing global concern and a leading cause of disability and premature death. Yet, there is a substantial gap between people needing care and those with access to care. Researchers in the field of Muslim mental health, like Dr Ghazala Mir and colleagues have found that Muslims in Britain are under-referred to mainstream support services for mental health problems, when they do access services their rates of improvement are lower.
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In this introductory course, designed for the wide range of Muslim and non-Muslim practitioners who provide mental health support, you will explore Muslim experiences of mental health problems. As you work through the course, you will gain a better understanding of Muslims, Islam and mental health. You will apply this knowledge by reflecting on your practice to consider ways in which you might improve experiences of and access to mental health support for Muslims. You do not need to have completed any qualifications or training in providing mental health support to complete this course, nor do you need any prior knowledge of Islam. The course is introductory across both topics of religion and mental health.
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Learners who do have some experience in the field of Muslim mental health will find that they are able to further advance and apply their knowledge. This course is designed for those who come across mental health problems in their work. We encourage you to reflect on your experiences of providing support and to consider how you might do things differently in light of what you learn. If you have not yet have experience of providing such support, you can think ahead to how you might do this. We appreciate throughout that learners may include people with lived experiences of mental health problems and the people who support them, like their family and friends.
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And the course is designed to be sensitive to this group of learners. Understanding Muslim Mental Health is a course for those who provide mental health support in Muslim communities. This course draws on current expertise and scholarship from the interdisciplinary field of Muslim mental health with content from the fields of Psychiatry, Psychology, Islamic Psychology, Sociology, Religious Studies and Theology. Expert contributors who feature in the course include academics, scholars, practitioners, and importantly people with lived experience of mental health problems.
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Throughout the course, we include first hand case studies and examples from practitioners who do the important work of providing mental health support on a day to day basis, including Muslim and non-Muslim health and social care professionals who work for the NHS or third sector organisations, as well as religious practitioners who provide faith based support like imams working in mosques. Video content brings to life the realities of mental health support practice and Muslim experiences of mental health, supplemented by written articles for important contextual and conceptual information. You will be aware that the field of mental health is inhabited by a diverse range of practitioners, from social workers to mental health nurses, chaplains to NHS psychiatrists, from youth workers to police officers.
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And this diversity is mirrored in the experts who appear in the course, and sometimes in the language they use to describe mental health problems and the people who experience them. Whilst mental health problems and people with mental health problems are our preferred terms, you will appreciate that we could not stop our contributors from slipping into the terms they are most familiar with. So you may hear references to mental illness or clients and service users and other terminology. Some of the debates around terminology in the field of mental health are outlined later this week. Your fellow learners will be from a range of professional backgrounds who all work within their own professional guidelines and in some cases statutory or legal requirements.
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Please consider the good practice guidance presented in the course in line with your own professional and organisational guidelines. Perhaps raise any contradictions or similarities as a point for discussion where appropriate. Another learner may have some helpful tips for you. Full references for any statistics or research findings will be included towards the end of each step. You will also be signposted to further sources of information. Do take a closer look at this additional material if you would like to find out more about the topics covered, where possible these additional resources are open access. We hope you enjoy the course. Please do introduce yourself in the comments below this video

Welcome to the course ‘Understanding Muslim Mental Health’.

This course draws on contemporary expertise and scholarship from the interdisciplinary field of Muslim Mental Health, with content from the fields of Psychiatry, Psychology, Islamic Psychology, Sociology, Religious Studies, and Theology. Our expert contributors include academics, scholars, practitioners, and, importantly, people with lived experience of mental health problems.

Throughout the course, we include first-hand case studies and examples from practitioners who do this important work on a day-to-day basis, including Muslim and non-Muslim health and social care professionals who work for the NHS or third-sector organisations, and religious practitioners who provide faith-based support (Imams). Video content brings to life the realities of mental health support practice and Muslim experiences of mental health, supplemented by written articles for important contextual and conceptual information.

You will be aware that the field of mental health is inhabited by a diverse range of practitioners – from social workers to mental health nurses, chaplains to NHS psychiatrists, from youth workers to police officers – this diversity is mirrored in the range of contributors to course content and, sometimes the language they use to describe mental health problems and the people who experience them. Whist ‘mental health problems’ and ‘people with mental health problems’ are our preferred terms, you will appreciate that we could not stop our contributors from slipping into terms they are most familiar with! So, you may hear references to ‘mental illness’ or ‘clients’ and ‘service-users’ and other terminology used. In a step that follows, we address some of the debates around terminology in the field of mental health.

You, and your fellow learners, will be from a range of professional backgrounds, who all work within their own professional guidelines, and in some cases statutory, or legal, requirements. Please consider the good practice guidance presented in the course in line with your own professional and organisational guidelines, perhaps raise any contradictions or similarities as a point for discussion where appropriate – another learner may have some helpful tips for you!

Full references for any statistics or research findings we report will be included towards the end of each step. Do take a closer look at this additional material if you would like to find out more about the topics covered. Where possible, we have tried to include open-access resources in our references.

We hope you enjoy the course.

Over to you

We’d love to hear more about you, your background and your motivations for taking this course. You can introduce yourself in the comments section below.

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