Case study: The Qur'an and Emotional Health project
Mind, in partnership with Suffolk Mind, embarked on a project to better engage with Muslim groups and meet their emotional needs in a culturally appropriate way. A significant part of the project was to develop a booklet called The Qur'an & Emotional Health: An Introduction.
The resource was produced in collaboration with Islamic scholars, psychologists, Imams and practicing Muslims. It was designed to support health and social care professionals in nine local Mind areas to better understand how to work with people from Muslim communities.
Nine local Minds held influence and participation events giving community members the opportunity to offer feedback on the booklet, which was overwhelmingly positive. As a result, we produced a national version of the booklet to help health and social care professionals engage with faith communities.
As part of the project, influence and participation activities largely took the form of public events. There is still a lot of misunderstanding about mental health among Muslim communities, so it was important to tackle this from a wider community perspective.
Holding public events and open discussions about mental health proved to be a great way to enable people from often hard-to-reach communities to influence and participate, because people may have struggled to come forward on their own due to fear of judgement from others.
The process allowed the project to genuinely meet the needs of Muslim communities. Those who were involved reported truly feeling part of an empowering organic process, and are enthusiastic about the results achieved by working together.
Mind Equality Improvement Manager says:
"If we want to effectively meet the needs of marginalised and multiply discriminated groups, we must be able to adapt to a way of engaging and operating that is culturally competent and inclusive. Most of the time it will not be appropriate to ask for individual stories from the project as people will not feel comfortable coming forward. Whereas being able to talk about the project in general terms would encourage other people from the same group to connect with it."
"Facilitating public discussions about emotional wellbeing in Muslim communities really helped people from the community to develop an understanding of what mental health is and how to access support. A very important role in the engagement process was played by Imams, who gave reassurance that mental health has nothing to do with possession (Jinn) and that it is important for people to talk about it."