Muslim Youth Helpline marks 1500th enquiry in five months
Muslim Youth Helpline (MYH) has been providing emotional support and signposting for the last 18 years. Founded by 18 year old Mohammed Sadiq Mamdani in 2001, the service provides non judgemental, confidential, faith and culturally sensitive support.
Back in 2017, MYH went through a difficult time. The organisation was in dire financial need. Alhamdulillah, by the grace of God, friends and funders helped us through. The World Federation, The Aziz Foundation, and Penny Appeal, put some time and resource in to the organisation. Other supporters donated office space, chairs, and the community was incredibly supportive with advice and guidance. With a new Board of Trustees and Director, we worked hard as a team to enable the organisation to thrive.
MYH has just marked the milestone of our 1,500th enquiry in five months. Clients spoke to us about family issues, depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings, marriage, loneliness, relationships, sexuality and employment. And we know from emails from our clients that we have saved lives.
Being the front line of mental health services for young Muslims in the UK, we felt the need to work with the community and help prevent these issues occurring in the first place, and to share the active listening skills we practice every day, ensuring that more people have a positive experience when talking about their issues, and can therefore lighten their burden. To make this possible, we have trained ISOCs, MSCs and ABSOCs across the country, mosque leadership teams, madrassa teachers and students, so that the ethics of non judgement and the skills of active listening reach further than just the helpline itself.
Other major milestones this year so far include being the only faith centred organisation with a seat at the table meeting Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, in a productive conversation about mental health. The fruits of that meeting are ongoing as we work with other organisations to expand the agenda for our clients.
Many of our clients suffer from the effects of Muslims being portrayed negatively in the media, and the Prevent agenda. To this end, we have been consulting with the BBC’s EastEnders, encouraging the positive portrayal of Bobby Beale’s conversion to Islam, which we hope will help the positive portrayal of the faith, and therefore the relief of some of the burden faced by our clients. MYH has a strong view on the Prevent agenda, which you can find here.
In the last five months, we’ve taken just over 1500 enquiries from young Muslims who have nowhere else to turn. People like Adela*, 11, who talked about being physically bullied by boys at her school because she is Muslim, Yusuf*, 15, who was experiencing anxiety because his parents were in the process of separating, and Mohammed*, 17, who experienced suicidal feelings because of an addiction to pornography.
We believe in putting the needs of beneficiaries first. A beneficiary-centric approach means that we do anything we can to improve the lives of our youth, whether that is through direct contact with the helpline, or through better quality conversations, reduction of stigma, or better media representation. This also means a focus on partnerships, and we have set up a few with partners such as SAFE and MEND.
We are a small, grassroots charity and the incredible support shown to us by the community speaks volumes. Restaurant owners donated their space for us to hold training. The community made our Student Wellbeing Guides possible, reaching 10,000 students this month. Thousands of donors made our Ramadan LaunchGood campaign a success. Each and every donation, gesture, thought and prayer is appreciated.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of the difficult journey we have been through. Thank you for your support, your donations, your time, your goodwill and good wishes. For many of our clients, we are the only place they can turn. You make that possible. Thank you. Please do continue to pray for us, and most importantly, for our clients.
To our clients, please forgive us for any shortcomings, and thank you for reaching out. Please remember, you are not alone.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for free Student Wellbeing Guides and look out for our upcoming campaigns here at the MYH website, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. To donate to Muslim Youth Helpline please tap here.
*Client names and details have been changed to protect identities