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Inspirited Minds in collaboration with The Lantern Initiative hosted our Community Leadership & Muslim Mental Health training day event in Peterborough on the 25th June, with so much excitement and enthusiasm! It was the first time a programme like this was held in Peterborough and we had a fantastic turnout of Imams, Chaplains and other people who work in community-facing roles. We had a mixture of attendees booked on from Cardiff, Bristol, Stoke on Trent, Leicester, Newcastle and London. Very encouraging to see leaders making such an effort to attend despite long travelling distances.

We discussed topics such as Muslim pioneers in mental health and their contribution to psychology, highlighted mental health issues prevalent in the Muslim community and provided information on coping mechanisms. In addition, we got everyone thinking about and starting to write up their own Khutbah or Talk on mental health which they could then deliver to their individual communities.

We are so very honoured to have been a part of this invaluable programme. It has highlighted to us the importance of doing much more work around educating and empowering communities. We pray this collaboration will be the first of many. 

Feedback from what the attendees learnt:

“I had a great experience during the Peterborough workshop. I learnt so many new things regarding mental health and Islam. The highlight of the day for me was interacting with the imams and hearing their experiences with mental health patients and how they tried to deal and support those with mental health. Everyone had a lot of experience in what they did and it helped to hear a lot of ideas from different perspectives. I found the workshop to be interactive and engaging. I was able to take part in the activities which helped me to understand certain ideas that Sadia was portraying. The activity I enjoyed the most was the schizophrenia activity. It gave me an insight of how people are suffering and it helped me to be more empathic”

“The realisation from UK Muslim communities of the seriousness of Mental Health”

“Need for balance when supporting people with MH. Culturally sensitive. Holistic approach. Better Islamic perspective but also need not to imbalance too far the other way.”

“It has been very thoroughly organised and thought out, using different approaches to encourage learning and discussion to deepen understanding. Contributions of lived experiences very helpful”

“Mental health seriously needs to be addressed, awareness needs to be increased”

“I may not be a ‘Leader’ but realised that I am a leader as a mother”

“I thoroughly enjoyed it, informative, productive, and a variety of activities”

“Language, body language – importance, tone of spoken language. Language of stigma in comparison to the prophet (SAW)”

“An excellent overview of mental health, causes, symptoms, and support including Islamic perspective”

“That mental health affects everyone in some form or another and the importance of recognising the need to take care of the mind just as we do with the rest of our body, with emphasis on different ways this can be achieved”

“Find a balance with everything we do. Non-judgmental was emphasised throughout the session – a great skill needed”.

“Factual evidence that the Muslim community has mental health issues. There are many barriers preventing, admitting and seeking help.”

Top tips for community leaders and Imam: 

(1) When approached by someone explaining a problem, ensure you have open body language (face them, good eye contact, open arms rather than crossed, lean in forward as though you’re interested in listening to them)

(2) OARS; O – Open-ended questions, A – Affirmations, R – reflections (“It sounds like…”), S – Summairising what the person has said

(3) Read about how the Prophet (SAW) interacted compassionately with others and note down a list of how he did this.

If you would like to get involved in raising awareness about mental health in your local community, we are looking to grow our outreach team to different cities around the country. We will ensure that you are fully trained and confident before running workshops & talks. Please visit our website for more information:  

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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