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Introduction to Week 2
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Introduction to Week 2

Introduction to Week 2 by Dr Asma Khan
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Welcome to Week Two of Understanding Muslim Mental Health. This week you will gain a more detailed understanding of two features of British Muslim life that were identified in Week One as barriers or constraints to Muslims seeking support for their mental health. You will also learn how mental health is understood and conceptualised in Islam. The differences and similarities between Islamic and Western models of mental health, and develop a more detailed understanding of how Islamic practices and beliefs can affect mental health. Throughout the week, conceptual information will be supplemented with recommendations for good practice and case studies and examples from the course educators and other expert contributors.
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In Week One, Dr Yousuf explained how religion might impact on mental health and why it is an important factor for practitioners to consider when providing mental health support for Muslims. He then introduced the bio psycho socio spiritual model as a holistic approach for better understanding and addressing mental health problems for Muslims. You covered some core religious practices and beliefs and some features of diversity among Muslim individuals and communities, and learned about some features of British Muslim communities that might affect mental health in distinctive ways, both positively and negatively. In Week Two, you will gain a more detailed understanding of two of the identified barriers that Muslims face Muslims face in seeking mental health support. These are stigma and Islamophobia.
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Both stigma and Islamophobia are additional challenges that Muslims might face when seeking support for mental health problems. They are also risk factors that can cause or exacerbate mental health problems. This week, Dr Yusuf is joined by Dr Abdallah Rothman, Principal of Cambridge Muslim College and an international expert on the topic of Islamic psychology. They will explain how mental health is understood and valued from an Islamic perspective based on interpretations of Islamic sources, including the Quran, Hadith and the work of renowned classical Islamic scholars. This knowledge may help address the barriers to accessing support among Muslims that were discussed in Week One and also in this week.
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For example, reducing stigma through promoting the message that addressing and seeking support for mental health problems are accepted practices in Islam. And secondly, among both Muslim and non-Muslim practitioners, this understanding may help to reduce assumptions and stereotypes about Muslims and their experiences of mental health. Dr Rothman explains how Islamic practices and beliefs can impact on mental health in positive and negative ways. And Dr Yusuf explains some commonly held beliefs among Muslims that can impact on their mental health. Suzanne Duval then shares an experience of providing mental health support to a Muslim woman whose beliefs were impacting on her mental health.
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And finally, Dr Roz Warden presents some good practice guidance for practitioners to consider when providing support for Muslims with mental health problems. Importantly, this week, you will become familiar with language and terminology around mental health that might be most familiar to Muslims with clear and accessible definitions for these terms. At the end of Week Two, we return to the bio psycho socio spiritual model.
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Dr Yusuf brings together all learning so far to explain how this model is well placed to encompass the religious beliefs of Muslims, which, as we have learned, can have an impact on their mental health alongside other aspects of their religious identity and social circumstances. You will then be introduced to three Islamically informed approaches to mental health support. These are Islamically sensitive, Islamically inclusive and Islamically indigenous. The week ends with a quiz for you to check your understanding so far. It is important to keep in mind what you’ve learned so far about diversity in Muslim communities.
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This means that there may be differing interpretations of Islamic sources, and not all Muslims will have access to information about Islamic interpretations of mental health. The aim of this week is to identify in greater detail some of the distinctive ways in which Muslims experience mental health problems and to explore the impacts of Islamic practices and beliefs on Muslim mental health. You will also begin to consider how learning from Weeks One and Two might influence the ways in which you offer mental health support. In Weeks Three and Four we will introduce examples and practical recommendations to further develop these reflections on how this might be achieved.
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As always, we encourage you to share your reflections and questions and to engage with your fellow leaders to make the most of this shared learning experience. In the next step, June Jones from the Welsh Government funded anti-stigma Campaign, Times Change Wales, explains what is meant by mental health stigma.

In this video, Asma welcomes you to Week 2 and outlines what this week of learning will include.

The aim of this week is to identify, in greater detail, some of the distinctive ways in which Muslims experience mental health problems and explore the impacts of Islamic practices and beliefs on Muslim mental health.

You will take a closer look at stigma and Islamophobia as barriers to mental health support for Muslims and learn about Islamic religious practices and beliefs that can impact on mental health for Muslims. You will be encouraged to discuss and reflect upon how this knowledge might be incorporated into mental health support practice.

At the end of Week 2, we return to the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model. Dr Yusuf brings together all learning so far to explain how this model is well-placed to encompass the religious beliefs and practices of Muslims. You will then be then introduced to three ‘Islamically-informed’ approaches to mental health support: Islamically-sensitive; Islamically-inclusive; Islamically-indigenous.

In the next step, you will learn about stigma and it’s impact on mental health.

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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