Inspirited Minds ventured out to Leicester on the 27th February in collaboration with the Student Union and Isoc for Wellbeing Week, and talk, Mind Your Mental Health.

How did it go?

It was marvellous.

The tremendous effort put in behind the scenes was totally transparent on the day with what we would like to say was high flying success. We were set up in the Student Union by 11am, with a table load of info, a fully pumped team, and a wellbeing tree waiting to be filled, which didn’t take too long.

Alhamdulillah, we had engaging chats with a wide variety of students with a huge spectrum of stressors. From Donald Trump, to Desi Aunties, from dissociative self-harming to dissertation deadlines, it truly was a revelation of just how differently stress can be defined and felt. There was a huge range of discussion, including relatable laughter, empathic tears, and most importantly, a massive thread of understanding which underlined the whole day.

We slowly ran out of tree space, including leaflets and lollies, but in good time for our workshop at 4pm which covered knowledge of anxiety, a short role playing activity, and an interesting QA. We then made our way over to the final event of the day, Mind Your Mental Health, where Sultan Hatab gave us concise examples of hardship and patience of different Prophets, followed by his heart wrenching experience of mental illness which included hardship followed by hardship, but alhamdulillah his battle was victorious in a number of ways. Through his short and engaging activities, the audience were able to build a “what to do” checklist if someone was to ever express concerns of their own mental wellbeing.  We were also made aware of small signs and symptoms that can enable us to identify when something is not quite right, and also how to approach individuals over our concerns. Finally, we were quizzed on how well we know our companions, because it was due to Sultan’s companions and the Will of Allah that he is where he is today, mashAllah.

Next, Sheikh Abdul Hameed Ismail took to the stage with very enlightening and productive points to take home and he covered a range of topics including the nonsensical stigma attached to mental illness, the illogical answer of mental illness correlating with low imaan, the positive outcome of looking after our physical health, and applying the holistic approach of looking after ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually to welcome a greater wellbeing. The most important take home message was perhaps that patience does not mean making dua without a response. Patience requires action, otherwise our efforts are default. He ended on an interesting metaphor, “You know those yellow tinted glasses? Those of us who don’t wear them can appreciate the spectrum of colours in this room, from the colour of the walls, to the colour of the chairs. However, this person can only see the colour yellow. We need to lift this veil.” – To see everything within our vision, we must be willing to break down the barriers and accept all types of mental illness in all its glory.

We pray that all those who we had the pleasure of meeting throughout the day, and all those who attended the evening talk were able to benefit in some way, and have learnt something new that they can go on to teach others. We pray that all those who shared their hardships with us were able to find some relief, and hope that you can find a safe base to continue expressing your feelings.

We would like to give a special thanks to Harriet Smailes, the Wellbeing officer for inviting us and granting us the opportunity to make a difference. We would like to thank the Leicester ISOC (especially Mashuda and Omer), you are a great bunch and pray that your studies are successful. We would also like to thank Sheikh Abdul Hameed for taking the time out of his busy schedule to participate in this event for us.

Finally, a special thanks to the team that had a very early morning, lugged around heavy bags in the rain, and got home late; Sabaa, Husna, Mehr, Zahra, and Sultan, also not forgetting Ujala, who’s ambitions and values were rooted in this project from the very start.

Alhamdulillah.

Meanha Begum

Author Meanha Begum

Meanha Begum is currently studying a degree in Islamic Psychology where she has been given the blessing to explore her passions, Islam and Psychology. She relishes in the insight of an Islamic perspective to incorporate into psychology, to help those who have never been given a chance that every devout muslim, and non muslim deserves. Which is why she considers Inspirited Minds to be a huge blessing in her life. She has been brought up in a heavy western environment, where Islam was once far from her reach, but through trials and tribulations, she has managed to come out stronger and closer to Allah than ever before. It's simply her experiences, ideas, and open nature that pushes her towards wanting to help others out of their vulnerable places, through their journey, and into happiness, with tranquil souls.

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