FEMYSO considers the topic of mental health as a key issue and this is why mental health education on a cross-societal level is one of our thematic priorities. It is a necessity to dismantle specific stereotypes that impact young people from minority backgrounds and marginalized groups that not only have to handle their mental well-being and tackle institutional barriers, but are also faced with the lack of access to resources and taboos surrounding mental health.
Research examining the consequences of COVID-19 on racialized communities highlighted the substantial negative impact on wellbeing and mental health outcomes (CAI, 2021). This is why we have every intention to focus on normalising this discussion in our communities and wider society and debunking misconceptions around mental health in general.
In this spirit, FEMYSO organized a one-week training course in collaboration with the Council of Europe, the Mind the Gap Study Session which resulted in the production of a Mental Health Booklet.
This booklet due to be published in the coming weeks seeks to be an introduction to various topics associated with mental health in our communities and organizations as activists. Our hope is to reach different Muslim communities and organizations in Europe to raise awareness, offer support through effective examples of good practice and start a long-overdue conversation.
We call upon European authorities on a local, national and international level to implement the following:
- Promote equal mental health care for all.
- Protect, raise awareness and promote mental health issues, particularly those concerning minority groups.
- Provide more accessible and affordable mental health support through easy access to information and to in-person services.
- Professionals should have a better understanding of cultural and faith beliefs of minority ethnic communities and how these impacts on beliefs and behaviours around mental health
- Training on unconscious bias and stereotyping for school counsellors and psychologists to be able to address the issues that students from racialized communities, including Muslims face adequately.
As FEMYSO we will continue our mission to recognize the needs and advocate on behalf of those often forgotten and stigmatized, in order to fulfil our mission of working towards a more diverse, vibrant and cohesive Europe for all.