Describe the Mental Health Needs of Somali Muslim Immigrants Discuss Methods used to train Muslim religious leaders on Mental Health disorders and treatments. Identify opportunities to integrate faith into mental health outreach efforts
85,700 Somalis live in the United States. Nearly one in three people with Somali ancestry in the U.S. live in Minnesota. 0ver 95% of Somalis are Sunni Muslims Source: 2010 American Community Survey
Mental Health (Depression/PTSD/Substance Abuse) o Stigma o Isolation and reduced social connectedness Source: 2012 Fairview Community Health Needs Assessment
Stigma is defined as “the situation of the individual who is disqualified from full social acceptance” (Goffman, 1963, p. 9). “Stigma hurts individuals with mental illness and their communities, creating injustices and sometimes devastating consequences.”
Mental illness is perceived as a test or punishment from God or an opportunity to remedy disconnection from Allah Imams (faith leaders) are seen as indirect agents of Allah’s will and facilitators of the healing process (Abu-Ras et al., 2008; Padela, Killawi, Heisler, Demonner, & Fetters, 2010; Padella et al., 2012). Research shows imams may play central roles in shaping family and community attitudes and responses to illness (Padella et al., 2012). In a study of 62 imams from across the U.S., Ali, Milstein, and Marzuk (2005) found that 95% reported spending significant time each week providing counseling to their congregants.
Reduce stigma by: o Engaging Imams in a dialogue around mental health o Increasing their knowledge of mental health symptoms and treatment options o Providing them with skills and resources necessary to promote better access to care.
Recruited 10 Imams from four mosques in Minneapolis Monthly trainings o 8 trainings in 2013 o 10 trainings in 2014 Facilitated by MH Therapists
Iterative, hands on, and discussion based workshops Visual tools Used regularly “Red Flags” Focus on the role of imam as educator/advisor Learning conditions, causes, risk factors and treatment methods Recognizing signs and symptoms Discuss and identify resources and tools to help families
“Since the training we have realized how to deal with people who come to the mosque for help. Some accept help but some postpone. We have recognized signs of depression.” “This training has benefited us tremendously; we have recognized many signs of mental illness.” “Before the trainings, I thought someone with mental illness meant someone is crazy and there were only very few of them. Now, I see the big spectrum and know this can happen to normal people who are functioning fine. “Now I can help. This disease has prevention and treatment. I can help contain the issue.” “I educate about this (addiction) in sermons.”
Connecting the dots They see MH as treatable condition with social implications When asked how they can help the person feel better. They said they can: Refer to doctor if needed Help the person get a job Help person join a social group Help motivate the person Help the person find a spouse if of age
One of the imams is in residency at Fairview to become first Somali/Muslim chaplain in upper Midwest All imams hosted at least 1 BH workshop at their mosques attended by over 400 people Strong interest in spiritual health and family health in relation to mental health o Anecdotally imams report increased incidences of people being referred to treatment and evaluation. Fairview’s riverside campus report 50% since 2013 in number of Somali speaking patients seeking treatment for substance abuse
Continue monthly trainings in 2015. Determine content based on feedback from Imams and mental health workgroup committee. Continue to conduct focus groups with imams to gather input of how they are reducing stigma in the community.
Faith leaders play a critical role in educating the community and reducing stigma Faith leaders are eager to learn about BH and general physical health. Be flexible in training approach and encourage consistent dialogue Explore partnerships with mosques and community based organizations. Faith leaders can be a great resource for culturally appropriate care
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