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On Saturday 12th of January 2019, behalf of Inspirited Minds I (Sadia Lira) along with Farhana Maleque delivered a talk and workshop on Islam and Mental Health. Inspirited Minds were invited to speak by Muslimaat London, who were the host and facilitators of this event! It took place in East London Mosque, and the turn up was beyond surprising (around 100 sisters turned up!)

Talking about Mental health is always a difficult and sensitive topic due to various taboo around it. Which is why one of my personal goal through these workshops and talks is to ease out the negative feelings around mental health, and “normalise” it! As normal as it would be to talk about physical health!

I enjoyed being part of this event greatly, as I noticed how much positive impact it was having on the audience! We spoke about the Islamic side along with the western perspective- but it was the Islamic Psychology that grasped all the attention, such as the topic on “Nafs” (Self). I believe the audience were able to relate more to it, and they found it unique! Some of the attendees were not even from the Islamic faith, but feedback suggested they wanted to learn more about the Islamic perspective to mental health so they can understand their (Muslim) clients needs better!

The number of attendees we received made me realise how important this topic is to Muslims and how vital it is for Muslim organisations or mental health organisations to deliver to such needs! In sha Allah, due to high demands we may do a part 2 of this event with Muslimaat London in the future!

I also realised in order to have a successful event everyone has to work together as a TEAM with compassion, understanding and have a similar vision. Here the vision was to deliver the talk and workshop effectively so that it can benefit our community! We had two support workers join us on the day (Fawziya and Raneem) and they demonstrated these qualities really well throughout the day, masha Allah!

Beside other intentions such as to reach out to individuals in our communities, one of our main intention through these events is to gain the pleasure of Allah SWT, and the only way we can do this is by keeping our intentions firm. So I ask anyone reading this to keep us in your duas, that not only we provide more events for our communities in the future but we do it with right intentions!

In sha Allah, let us also make dua for those who are struggling, with every form of difficulties. Some may openly speak about it and some may silently battle with it. May Allah SWT ease their difficulties, may He give them strength to ask for help, to feel loved and to love themselves! Ameen.

Sadia Lira

Sadia is a Trainee Psychologist who completed her masters in Health Psychology. She is passionate about being involved with international development projects and has been away to Zimbabwe, India and Calais, France where she held workshops to encourage positive healthy behaviour. Sadia has held sessions with children, adults and refugees on mental health, HIV/aids, malaria, typhoid, hygiene, gender base violence and has also taught English on various occasions. Moreover, she regularly holds projects in her local town for homeless individuals and believes in minimising social exclusion. Sadia is particularly interested in tackling mental health issues within the Asian community as well as the broader aspect. The way mental health is discussed in relation to Asian Males is of her interest. Furthermore, she has also carried out research study (MSc) on the impact of tragic events (such as 9/11) on Muslims mental wellbeing. The study was done in order to look at how the negative events impacts Muslims coping skills. She is keen on doing further PHD research on Refugees and Muslims mental & physical health. In her pastime Sadia enjoys nature & scenic walks, drawing & sketching, playing badminton & archery. She holds a GB Archery instructor qualification! For the future, Sadia hopes (in sha Allah) to qualify as a Health Psychologist and work with vulnerable communities in the UK as well as the international development field.

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