Our recent Mental Health & Islamophobia webinar highlighted mental health is very misunderstood in the Muslim community and the cause for this is believed to be due to several reasons ranging from lack of knowledge and understanding to stigma and shame.

Speakers at the webinar covered a range of topics discussing the Islamic perspective of mental health, the effects of Islamophobia on mental health, how to support someone with mental health & recognising symptoms as well as faith-based mental health services.

Dr Hina Shahid (Chair of MDA) spoke about how we can all support Muslim mental health by recognising warning signs and provided many insights and practical suggestions about how to respond and who to refer someone who needs help to. She stressed the need for culturally sensitive services and how health care professionals need to practice person-centred consultations to achieve a better understanding and awareness of the needs of the patient and better engagement with an empathetic and caring approach. 75% of attendees at the event who had faced Islamophobia felt it affected their mental health and 60% were not aware faith-based counselling existed. Shireen Ali-Khan, programme Manager of BCBN & lead for the Muslim Mind Collaborative presented the findings from the insightful study ‘Hidden Survivors – Uncovering the mental health struggles of young British Muslims’, which highlights the need to address the causes of poor health outcomes among minority ethnic groups by tackling structural racism and negative experiences that deter Muslims from accessing services, as well the importance of faith and culturally sensitive services to improve health outcomes. The report found a growing concern within Muslim communities across the UK regarding young Muslims mental well-being against a climate of increased economic and social challenges, growing Islamophobia in the media and online, and the academic pressures of youth.

The results from the review of the free faith-based mental health counselling support commissioned by NHSE/I for Muslims working in the NHS and delivered by Inspirited Minds & Lateef Project over a 6 month period showed over 600 counselling sessions were delivered to over 100 NHS Muslim staff. Staff members working across all staff roles were supported with various mental health needs. Due to the high demand for the service, the provider had to stop taking referrals sooner than hoped. The provider is still getting contacted from many NHS Staff members asking if they are still taking referrals.