We know we say this every year, but 2018 has truly been a fruitful year, and in all honesty, it’s been full of oxymora. It’s been gradually fleeting, even comfortably unpleasant at times, wonderfully testing, and wearisomely rewarding. We say this because it is important to be honest to all of our readers and supporters, partners and collaborators. We want the world to know that despite the testing times, and the obstacles this year has brought, this volunteer-led organisation is still here because our zeal is not dependent purely on massive success. We feel our prosperity is secure even if we have reached only one person, be it through our newsletter, our events, our social media or through our online support centre. Not to forget that alongside our goal of enabling people who are experiencing distress, our wider goals are also changing perceptions, de-stigmatising, and encouraging meaningful discussions around mental health.
In our yearly review, we usually take you through each month and what we have done, but we thought we would try something a little different this year. Especially because this would be a very long blog post as compared to 2 years ago, we have a lot more things to speak about and as mentioned earlier, 2018 has been a massive year for us. So we would really appreciate it if you would read our monthly reflections which are done every month with a theme and reminder. Due to the monthly goodness available at your fingertips, we thought we would keep this short and highlight the most significant occasions that have happened this year.
In February, we pledged to support the Mental Health Concordat which meant that we hosted a series of workshops, training, campaigns and events focused on mental health across 2018 – which we definitely did! Our Outreach team has taken our work to different heights, masha’Allah, and have accomplished a number of different events every month.
February also kickstarted the formation of our exemplary Advisory Board with Professor Rasjid Skinner joining in February; followed by Myria Khan in April, Sheikh Abu Ibrahim in August, Dr Ahmed Hankir in September and Sheikh Saeed Nasser in November. We also had many more respectable names joining our board recently, mashAllah! The board advise us in matters that ensure we remain professional and ethical, as well as providing incredible, authentic guidance on how to navigate our work in the most Islamic way as possible.
We were super busy between February and April with lots of events (which you can read about through the reflections), but May was the month of patience and power! We released the trailer and first video of our new campaign A Muslim Mind, with many more to come throughout 2019. The Outreach and Communications team duelled in our annual Ramadan challenges and this year we raised a whopping £3021! On the blog we took a different stance to Ramadan, usually we discuss food, imaan and generally how to cope with mental health problems during this month, but this year we decided to talk about self-love and acceptance. It was a very popular theme this year, and we encourage you to read through them as Ramadan 2019 is just around the corner!
In July, our CEO, Talat went to Turkey for the International Association of Islamic Psychology’s Counselling from an Islamic Theoretical Orientation Certificate Program. The reflection is definitely worth a read, and what he learnt has definitely made an impact in the work we do, and the connections he made were invaluable!
September was a quiet month as we spent most of it fuelling up for our big October event, however the Communications team spoke about Religious OCD, again it was a very popular theme and it spoke to a lot of our readers. More recently, we revisited the theme by doing a podcast with Deenspiration which has had a great response!
October was a sensational month for us, we spent a few months planning our big event of the year which was in this month. It was challenging as it was a concept that was quite new to a lot of us, and it was an idea that we initially did not have much content or resources for – which meant we had to get creative! We’re so grateful for the attendees that travelled from far and wide and gave it their all in the activities and workshops. We were blown away by the feedback and you can read all about Creative Minds and its success on our website!
We have spent November and December refuelling for 2019 by tightening up our procedures, strengthening our team dynamics, focusing on releasing our projects, and brainstorming our fantastic line-up of ideas. Although 2018 has been a year full of lessons and whilst we are a little sad to see the year go as it’s been a year of rapid change and progression, we are super charged for what 2019 will bring.
As every year, there is no room for new year’s resolutions because we made our tenacious promise almost 5 years ago but what we will do, is persevere through the storms that 2019 has awaiting; hold fast to the rope of Allah and continue to progress in our mission, with our vision and values close to our hearts.
A final show of gratitude for 2018, to anyone reading, to anyone who has made dua for us, or supported us in anyway, a very sincere, and sizeable thank you. Without you our work would have no purpose, and without you our purpose would have no work. We anticipate our journey ahead together with a deep breath, a smile, a devotion to emulate the Prophet (ﷺ) and our limitless love for Allah.