A new Muslim mental health clinic opened its doors in Boston, Massachusetts last week, aiming to focus on stigma within the Muslim refugee and immigrant communities, The Bay State Banner reported.
Pharmacists Abdifatah Ahmed and Mohamed Abdullahi started the new Community Caring Clinic, a behavioral health clinic, after noticing a huge need for professional help.
“When I saw that, I said this is what is needed in the Muslim community,” Abdullahi said.
He added that Muslim families struggle with shame, language barriers, and cultural stigma.
“Right now we are dealing with a lot of mothers and youth,” he says.
“They need somebody who understands their culture. Somebody who breaks the barriers and the stigma on mental health.”
Mayor Martin Walsh, city officials, and community members attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Both Abdullahi and Ahmed said they experienced trauma after leaving their homes in Somalia to become refugees in foreign countries.
“We want to bring something different from the regular mental health clinic, which is a holistic approach,” Abdullahi said.
He added, “We want to appreciate the holistic approach, with spirituality.
“We are dealing with organizations that can train our providers to be aware of this spiritual side of the person to whom they’re giving therapy.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depressive disorders are the fourth leading cause of ill health and disability amongst adults worldwide.
By 2020, mental health disorders are expected will represent the world’s largest health problem.
Many Muslims are reluctant to seek out mental health professionals because of the stigma attached to mental illness. Another reason is because they fear that a Western-trained therapist will not understand their culture or religion.
Countering stigma related to mental health, an Islamic center in Raleigh, North Carolina, started offering specialized service in January 2018.
Earlier in 2016, a group of Ottawa Muslim mental health workers held a conference to help those suffering in silence.