We must collaborate to meet the mental health needs of young British Muslims

With Self-harm awareness last Friday the 1st March 2013, I was reminded of the high percentage of calls that the Muslim Youth Helpline received relating to self harm and suicide. Still very much a taboo subject within wider society, it is even more so within the UK Muslim communities. It also does not help that self harm is misunderstood and seen to be a “sin” within Islam. So young people that do self harm are often seen as seeking attention, succumbing to peer pressure and are chastised.

I wrote a short blog piece for the community care magazine website, which is still relevant today. If, as mental health workers and social care providers we are going to support young people in particular BAME young people, then we need to collaborate across agencies and sectors – mental health services and third sector – in order to reach those hardest to reach. Then only we can provide adequate care, ensuring that a significant minority of young Muslims do not slip under the radar. Like any other young person they need help to overcome their issues. In particular young South Asian females are more likely to self harm than their counterparts, the majority of whom are of Pakistani and Bengali origin, hence Muslim.

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