Faith in Mental Health
This is two-year blended research and public education project to study mental health from an interfaith perspective with a twin focus on:
- The development of public educational materials on faith, interfaith and mental health;
- The study of policy-related issues concerning mental health and British Muslim communities.
The project has three phases:
- A review of existing academic and non-academic literature on mental health and faith communities, including: medical/epidemiological studies, public health research and guidance, sociological/social scientific studies, and charity reports. This review will provide the means to compare mental health experiences from Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities, and the wisdom derived from religious belief and practice withing the Abrahamic traditions. Additionally, reviewing the current literature will inform public education materials and provide a framework for policy-related research.
- A policy-related piece to study mental health in Muslim communities in Britain. The project will build on the interfaith literature review, and will involve a series of interviews and focus groups. A series of key findings and recommendations will be published to feed into policymaking in the UK and will address two vital aspects:
- Issues facing Muslims in Britain from within their own communities, including: the stigmatisation of mental health; generational and cultural change in relation to attitudes towards mental health and mental health treatment; the level of education and knowledge of mental health, and more.
- Issues facing Muslims in Britain when accessing mental health services: barriers to access; suitability of mental health provision; training of mental health professionals; the role of stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination, and more.
- A programme of public education on faith, interfaith and mental health targeting faith communities (with a focus on Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities). Returning to the theme of community-driven wisdom, the programme will seek to educate people from Abrahamic faith backgrounds, and those of all other faiths and none, on the approaches to mental health found within Christian, Judaic and Islamic traditions. Moreover, this curriculum will provide much needed materials for the training of mental health professionals on helping individuals from faith backgrounds.