Article 5: “It’s often not good enough for a university to give out colouring books and bring in a puppy during exams”: How can we prevent and respond to mental health issues in young Muslims?

Image: no copyright.

“I mean, I love dogs,” explains mental health researcher Jamilla Hekmoun, over Zoom. “But I think [mental health support for young people] needs to be at a deeper level. Counselling waitlists can’t be six, 12 or 18 months long. I got counselling through university, but the waitlist was so long, they had to refer me outside. I think I’d been for three or four sessions…


What’s The Matter With Muslims?

Article 3: Inside therapy from a Muslim counsellor

A counselling session. Image: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
Public Domain Dedication.

For Muslims who struggle with their mental health, seeking religious-based therapy from a Muslim counsellor might be the answer.

So what is Islamic counselling?

Sabnum Dharamsi is the co-founder of accredited Islamic Counselling Courses and has a private practice as a therapist and supervisor. She used to be convener for the Islamic counselling module in Cambridge Muslim College’s Diploma.

She explains: “We developed our model, Islamic Counselling, based on the understanding that human beings are spiritual as well as behavioural. In most European models, the focus is cognitive and behavioural and if there is attention…


What’s The Matter With Muslims?

Article 4: How is mental health viewed in the Ahmadi Muslim community?

Adeel Shah addresses a crowd at mosque. Photo: Adeel Shah.

“When you think of mental health, it is something that, for a very long time, has been brushed under the carpet,” says Adeel Shah, 26, one of Britain’s youngest imams.

As an Ahmadi Muslim, Adeel works closely with Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden, South London.

The Ahmadi Muslim community was founded by a 19th century Indian scholar called Hazrat Ahmad. This distinguishes Ahmadi Muslims from Sunni or Shia Muslims, a difference which makes Ahmadis a target for persecution in countries all over the world.

Currently based in East Hampshire, Adeel moved from Pakistan to the…


Photo: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Numbering at an estimated 4.13 million, Muslims make up around 6.3% of the UK’s population (source: Statista). In a community as large and vastly diverse as this, what patterns are there when it comes to mental health?

According to a report published by Better Community Business Network in June 2021, which surveyed 729 respondents aged 18 to 30, the most common mental health struggles faced by young Muslims were anxiety, depression and stress.

Mental illness also disproportionately affects people who identify as Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME). 90% of Muslims living in the UK come from ethnic minority backgrounds (Source…


What’s The Matter With Muslims?

Article 4: How is mental health viewed in the Ahmadi Muslim community?

Adeel Shah addresses a crowd at mosque. Photo: Adeel Shah.

“When you think of mental health, it is something that, for a very long time, has been brushed under the carpet,” says Adeel Shah, 26, one of Britain’s youngest imams.

As an Ahmadi Muslim, Adeel works closely with Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden, South London.

Founded by a 19th century Indian scholar called Hazrat Ahmad, the Ahmadi Muslim community is based around his teachings. This distinguishes Ahmadi Muslims from Sunni or Shia Muslims, a difference which makes Ahmadis a target for persecution in countries all over the world.

Currently based in East Hampshire, Adeel moved…


What’s The Matter With Muslims?

Article 2: What barriers do Muslims face with their mental health?

Photo: Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0).

“I may be being highly reductive, but there is this idea that bad mental health comes from a place of being ungrateful or unhappy about the circumstances in your life,” says Dr Noha Abu El Magd, who has a a PhD in functional nanomaterials. The academic and writer wrote a moving piece for HuffPost, detailing her experiences as a Muslim woman dealing with mental health.

She continues: “Having mental illness is [interpreted as] a of lack of faith or that there’s something ‘wrong’ with…


Image: Dr Neil Clifton / Entrance to Bethnal Green Underground station / CC BY-SA 2.0.

A research study has found that the vast majority of people sleeping rough in England, Scotland and Wales last year were male.

This finding was revealed in new data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The study was conducted by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), who asked respondents to fill in a ‘Rough Sleeping Questionnaire’ between February 2019 and March 2020.

The data suggests that those who sleep rough in the UK are predominantly men, as the overall population ratio is around six men to one woman.

Likewise, the study found that in…


‘Photographs © Emma N.J. Long. Photo permission from Emma Long.

Windows across Haslingden are displaying art to bring a splash of colour to the streets during lockdown.

‘Windows of Wonder’ is a trail of window artwork created by residents of Haslingden in Rossendale, Lancashire.


Cystic Fibrosis Trust campaign poster. Screenshot taken from https://www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/get-involved/fundraising/join-our-fundraising-campaigns/cf-week.

A campaign called #WeWon’tStop pledges to continue researching and fundraising for people affected by Cystic Fibrosis (CF).

Cystic Fibrosis Trust is hosting the campaign, which encourages individuals affected by the condition to share their stories online using the #WeWon’tStop hashtag.

Cystic Fibrosis Week runs from 14th to 20th June 2021.

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic condition which primarily affects the lungs, pancreas and digestive system.

It affects over 10,600 people in the UK.

One in 25 people carry a gene which causes Cystic Fibrosis.

Usually, children are diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in the first few months of life, but some…


Photo permission from Georgina Thompson.

A Staffordshire mother and baby group is hosting a live question-and-answer session to raise awareness of maternal mental health.

On Thursday 6th May, Tots Play Stafford and Rugeley is hosting a live Q&A on their Facebook page at 8:30pm.

The Facebook Live is intended to aid new mothers in their recovery journey, as well as provide support and advice for their family and friends.

Saima Akhtar

MA Journalism student at The University of Salford, 2020–2021. Aziz Foundation Scholarship Recipient. Aspiring writer. Twitter/Instagram: @saimathewriter

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