Towards the end of 2016, many of our social media timelines were flooded with memes denouncing the figure of the time. Although blaming 2016 for the global realities we face was admittedly absurd, it was also therapeutic for some. Now, four months into the new year, many of the disparities we witnessed in the last year have remained consistent or have increased. The question is, in this globalized world, what is our next step? How can we provide research-based solutions and relief for our local and international communities, as well as for ourselves? Especially, in our ever-changing world, how do we foster healthy coping mechanisms that go beyond internet memes?
“…how do we foster healthy coping mechanisms that go beyond internet memes?”
From a global health perspective, we are in the middle of a mental health epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people live with depression. Depression is also one of the leading causes of disability in the world, and suicide is now counted amongst the main leading causes of death in the United States. Americans are also suffering from a serious opiate addiction and overdose crisis which has overwhelmed mental health workers.
There is a growing need for accessibility to mental health care and research. Multicultural societies need culturally competent services, research and disaggregated data for immigrants, refugees and people of color. Muslims are represented overwhelmingly in these three groups, and, therefore, are vulnerable to health disparities and lack of access. Further, a perceived stigma associated with mental illness continues to create barriers for this population.
Healthy Mind Healthy Nafs blog was started to address these concerns and give an educational platform to people doing valuable interdisciplinary mental health work in Muslim communities. This blog is hosted by the Institute of Muslim Mental Health and is meant to be supplemental to our website, academic journal and annual conference. Most of all, our continued mission is to provide resources, create accessibility, foster understanding, reduce stigma and build alliances.
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Editor of Healthy Mind, Healthy Nafs