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Well, 2016 has been a biggie for us, Alhamdulillah! Despite all the negatives that this year has brought, Inspirited Minds is proof that with the help of Allah and support from people like you, passion and altruism always wins! Behind the scenes, our family has grown greatly with new PR officers, support workers, counsellors, a new outreach team and many dedicated volunteers. We have been able to reach unbelievable heights. We always take on your opinions and work for your best interests, and this year we have tried to do nothing but listen to them and exceed the standards you have set for us.

This year the PR department have tried hard to confront many taboos head on and January started off with [Men]tal health which we also learnt a lot from, and have been trying to be more inclusive for the silenced brothers in our community. In relation to this, with many adiyaat we finally managed to get more brothers to be a part of the mental health crew, unseen and more visible ones too!

Along came February with a whole lot to say as yet again, many of our supporters rose to the challenge and participated in #TimeToTalk, this time with powerful videos, an assortment of images, and encapsulating poems. Have you guys checked it out yet? Make sure you do before #TimeToTalk 2017 as In Shaa Allah we have something even bigger planned. However, February did not stop as Silence Begets Silence with UCL RUMS ISoc made a grand entrance and an even better exit with a POW. Subtitled: Confronting taboos in mental health and Islam – it did exactly what it said on the tin. You can find the full review here, but we warn you, there was nothing negative about the whole day (it was even on time, which is really rare!), go on, educate and surprise yourselves.

Remember how we tried to confront taboos head on? April and May were probably the biggest we tried to shed some light on. With World Autism Day at the end of March, it was only logical to give Autism its due rights by dedicating April to highlight the issues and misunderstandings around it. We couldn’t even begin to imagine how challenging it must be for someone with Autism and the fact that they may not be able to vocalise their thoughts, we took up the opportunity to help them. We even had the honour to share our space with a mother who described her journey with her child as a battle she could not afford to lose. Culture was covered in May, perhaps the thing surrounded by the murkiest of waters, with the most concealed of monsters. However, we braved it and try to clear the water a little and defeat those beasts that so effortlessly try to keep our heads below water when struggling with religious and mental health issues. What was the conclusion by the end of the month? We refused to drown! Brave the waters with us by checking out the first of the month here. Perhaps there was an even bigger shadow which we attempted to lighten, and that was our Ruqyah month. Jinns and mental health have almost become synonymous so we just had to deconstruct it positively, check out our explanations, the history and mystery and top tips for the protection.

We were able to prepare ourselves for Ramadan with lots of anticipation that had many of us in a bit of conflict between excitement and dread. However we ploughed through the month with much success as after much planning we finally produced our first ever podcast – The Mindful Muslim! Albeit we had our complications at the beginning, but alhamdulillah from month to month they have been improving, and listener numbers have been rising, including great feedback and lots of interest. We have had local, national and international guests from all kinds of background and we have many more planned for the next year so keep your ears tuned. The excitement didn’t come to a halt as Shawwal came with many gems, we created #RamadanVibes where you guys shared your favourite vibes from Ramadan and our Instagram followers soared MashAllah. From the response we received, we decided to have these more regularly, we have had #CopingWithEducation and finished the year off with #FreakyFeels. Check them out on all our social media. Do you have any ideas for next year? Let us know!

November was definitely a big month for us, where should we begin? Outreach had a huge success with their first event on the 18th at Kings College – Muslim Mental Health: How to Save a Life, with workshops conducted by our very own team members that induced lots of personal reflections and student activity. Their event with UCL ISoc on the 1st of December – No Man is an Island: How to Support One Another did not fall short, it was an engaging talk de-stigmatising mental health, followed by a discussion around mental health and representations in the British Muslim Community. With the success of the Outreach team, Inspirited Minds is building relationships with many ISoc’s and reaching out to every corner of London, but next year we have big plans on a bigger scale, so keep your eyes peeled and your invitations coming!

Something very special was introduced towards the end of the month, something quite unique and exclusive to Inspirited Minds, Mindful Bubbles! This exciting new project is bringing many of our aims to life in many different ways, with a massive impact in November, you will be happy to know that they will be continuing in conjunction with the articles once a month. Quick and quirky ways to help understand mental health better, Mind of Mary will not fail to melt your heart as well as enlighten your mind simultaneously.

Let’s not forget about the immense work that the support team are doing behind the scenes of Inspirited Minds who have managed to give comfort to over 600 people in the darkest of times, this year. They have radiated warmth to people all around the country when they have needed it the most, and whilst they have been a last resort for many, they have also been the pillar for most. Inspirited Minds isn’t always cliché in methods of support, and therefore our support team have got something super exciting brewing, waiting to be launched very soon.

Finally, our cofounders who have been the backbone of the whole charity, its organisation, progression and growth. They have been there at all hours of the day prepared to solve any minor setbacks as well as exerting their best efforts to keep us all together and ensure the swimming success of Inspirited Minds. It is because of them we have a carefully selected, forever growing team that gel so well and without their vision, motivation and compassion running through our work, we would not be where we are today.

As we start switching to our new calendars, and opening our fresh diaries for 2017, we cannot forget about the achievements that Inspirited Minds has made this year nor can we forget to say thanks to you for continuing to support us in many ways, and all praise is due to Allah!

The ball has only just begun rolling, and we have plans to only get bigger and bigger – with the family growing, and support increasing, it will be at a much more rapid pace, In Shaa Allah! As always, if you have any ideas, interests, and inquiries then please, please get in touch, we need you guys now more than ever. We hope that the New Year will bring many prosperous adventures, that will prove to be fruitful for us as well as the Ummah and we look forward to taking you on this journey with us.

As always, may Allah heal the sick, guide the lost, shower us in His mercy and bless all our future endeavours, Ameen.

Jazakamullah Khairan, from the bottom of all our hearts.

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