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.

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While employees in various fields experience burnout, social service and mental health professionals are particularly vulnerable because of the high levels of empathy required by our jobs. We also experience the stress of working with clients who are often in crisis and working for agencies where resources may be limited. Our focus is to improve the quality of life for our clients while striving to ease their suffering, which can lead us to become emotionally and physically drained.

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Since the publication of The Family and Youth Institute (FYI)  Suicide Prevention and Intervention Resources in September of 2017, over 6000 people have accessed the Suicide Prevention and Intervention Resources on the website and almost 25,000 have accessed them through social media outreach. Mosques and community centers are starting to address suicide and mental health issues in programming and Friday sermons. As Sheikh Yaser Birjas mentioned in a Friday sermon this past September, “We live in one society, we are not immune. Cultural shame leads people to feel isolated. There is no shame in seeking help. It is obligatory if you need help or know someone who does that you should seek it [professional help].”

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Another call came in. I knew what to expect — another woman, distressed and frantic. Her marriage was falling apart, and she was eager to piece it back together, or figure out what else she could do to make it work. Ending the marriage was not on the table for her, but she was drastically unhappy, and so was her spouse. He was a good person, she said, but their marriage was gasping for air — what could she do to bring it back to life?

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Primary health care providers and patients alike are increasingly recognizing the positive role that psychotherapy can play in wellness. At the same time, it can sometimes be challenging to locate appropriate psychotherapeutic services.

Whether you’re facing a rough moment or know someone who is, finding the right mental health practitioner is one of the first steps towards enhanced well-being. In psychotherapy, you will learn healthy coping strategies, gain a better understanding of yourself, and address goals that you set in collaboration with your psychotherapist.

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As Muslim clinicians, we know firsthand the challenges and blessings of Ramadan and fasting. Fasting can be a struggle, even for the healthy individual. But how does fasting and Ramadan affect our patients? From timing medications such as stimulants, to dosing twice daily regimens to help with mood stabilization or depression – sometimes we assume our patients will figure out answers to these complicated questions on their own.

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