Resilient Me: Supporting the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young Muslims

As students are returning to their regular school routine they will need to have holistic interventions in place to help them reintegrate. An increased importance is placed upon well-being services to be integrated into school life and deal with mental health holistically. Young people and their families will need help to ‘manage mental health, self-esteem, friendships and relationships’. While general mental health support is available for young Muslims, the ‘Resilient Me’ Programme is informed by research which indicates the importance of culturally informed and faith sensitive mental health services for young Muslims. Delivered in partnership by The Children’s Society and Better Community Business Network (BCBN), the ‘Resilient Me’ Programme is a unique service designed to better recognise, understand and support the Mental Health and Wellbeing of young Muslims.

Resilient Me’s whole school approach makes mental health and wellbeing everyone’s business, with all parts of the school community working together to prevent and recognise emotional distress in young people before it can escalate into adult trauma and related mental health difficulties.

The programme seeks to empower young people to take charge of their mental health and wellbeing, through teaching strategies that build emotional resilience, listening to their concerns and creating safe spaces for them to share worries.

‘Resilient Me’ aims to ensure diversity and representation are embedded within the curriculum and schools are equipped with the tools they need to discuss the issues faced by young Muslims. This will help to create supportive school environments in which young people are empowered to express their faith, culture and identity holistically without fear of discrimination that they might face in other settings.

The ‘Resilient Me’ team have been liaising with schools as they have re-opened their doors to students over the past months. We’ve listened to teachers and students and are putting plans in place to deliver the ‘Resilient Me’ programme across a number of schools in London in September 2021.

Programme Content will include:

• Working with individual schools to gain an understanding of and insights into well-being within their school.

• Delivery of tailored 6-8 week programmes for students covering: what wellbeing is, the connection between wellbeing and identity, the impact of prejudice and discrimination on wellbeing, different methods of supporting wellbeing.

• Providing training for school staff, welfare teams, pastoral support, reception staff.

• Providing ongoing toolkits and faith sensitive and culturally competent wellbeing resources for schools to support their work with young people and their families.

• Delivering awareness raising sessions on mental health and wellbeing for parents and carers of Muslim young people exploring: the key factors impacting on young Muslims mental health and wellbeing based on research and our own focus groups, destigmatising mental health and addressing any concerns that seeking support is in conflict with Islamic faith, how parents can support and affirm their children’s mental health and wellbeing in ways that align with Islamic values.

• Engaging with the wider school community, external organisations and experts to inform programme delivery.

• Ongoing efforts around research and assessment of the needs of young Muslim people to inform the programme and provide adequate support.