Coping with COVID: Best practices for mental health professionals during the pandemic.

August 10, 2020

Who could have imagined that, a few short months into 2020, the world would come to a complete standstill? Businesses have closed down, schools are empty, but some of our homes are possibly more full than they have been in a long time. In addition to the many stressors faced by all people as a result of the quarantine, Muslims have faced additional challenges that are unique to them. As Muslim health care professionals, it is important to understand how to cope with these challenges during these unique times, as well as how to guide those seeking our help.

Telehealth and COVID-19: The Dos and Don’ts

June 28, 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic catching the world by surprise, physicians and other healthcare providers have had to find ways to continue providing patients with treatment, while also keeping patients safe from possible infection. This spans physical and mental health treatment providers and facilities. Furthermore, studies have shown American Muslims often do not seek mental health services due to stigma and discomfort with sharing their stories to “strangers”.  Telehealth has become ever more important to help American Muslims and the general population access services.

Ramadan in the Time of Corona: An Opportunity to Heal the Healer

April 23, 2020

It has been quite a month. A month since a microscopic force turned our worlds upside down.  Thanks to Zoom meetups, memes, and attempting to homeschool four kids, I am relatively stable emotionally. But there are moments the emotions start to overflow and I get overwhelmed with anxious thoughts or become overcome with grief. I know I’m not the only one. Besides being mental health professionals, we have other roles too, as parents, children, in-laws, siblings and friends. And with these various roles come a plethora of responsibilities.  Sometimes it feels like we have to hold it together to keep everyone else from falling apart. And so, I wanted to check in with YOU, my fellow healers — when was the last time someone asked, “how are you doing today?” 

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I Am Your Psychiatrist, Not Your Sheikh

April 11, 2017

Let’s face it, being a Muslim mental health professional isn’t always easy. We often times deal with stigma from all around – from within the community, from society and from in the masjid. We may share a common desire to provide care, healing and hope to the mentally ill members  of our very own Muslim communities. Some of us are often driven by rescue fantasies — but when do such subconscious drives blur boundaries? While we embark on this professional path with optimism, bright eyes and a sense of idealism, as we start to see patients of similar backgrounds, we may experience  unexpected feelings and challenges. This can raise our anxiety about caring for Muslim clients and patients, especially for early career psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists. And so it is ironic that the very reason we ventured into this field can become an area of anxiety and consternation. And while Muslim  clients oftentimes prefer practitioners of similar backgrounds, we know Muslims are not a monolith and represent a wide range of ethnicities, races and degrees of acculturation. How do we deal with situations when we are not the perfect fit as our clients desire?

Syria’s Children: Mental Health Implications

March 13, 2017

The Syrian crisis has entered its seventh year. The country that once birthed the cradle of civilization is destroyed to a great extent and will likely never be the same. 13.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid – 5.8 million of which are children. Meanwhile, more than half a million Syrians have been killed, and millions (5 million, as reported by UNHCR this week) more have been displaced around the world since the beginning of one of the most devastating and protracted conflicts of our time.

Post-Trump Stress Disorder (PTSD): Join a Survey on the Impact

March 11, 2017

Political analysts, bloggers, comedians, and researchers have kept the recent presidential election in the limelight through endless polls, studies and news articles. While the outcome of this election along with the antiquated electoral college is called into question, we cannot dismiss the unique significance of this political era regardless of one’s party affiliation. Trump’s victory has left most of us head-scratching – or, perhaps, hair-pulling. Some of us have been compelled to seek mental health services and even need medication to cope with the heightened anxiety, uncertainty, and hostile climate. This has been especially true for those who fall into the branded groups cast out by the Trump Administration, with Muslims near the top of the list of undesirables. In a seeming war between good and evil, our world appears upside down.