142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

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In Their Own Words: Training Muslim Religious Leaders to Reduce Stigma and Improve Access to Mental Health Care

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Sahra Noor, RN, PHN, MS , Department, Fairview Health Services, Roseville, MN
Ahmed Hassan, MA , Co-founder, Summit Guidance Center, Minneapolis, MN
Pachia Vue, MPH , Community Health, Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis, MN
The role of spiritual communities as a protective factor in preventing or mitigating mental health crisis has been explored within many ethnic communiities living in the United States.  This presentation offers research that addresses the gap in peer-reviewed studies related to the role of Muslim/Somali leaders in the early identification of mental health issues and access to services.

85,700 Somali live in the United States (2010 American Community Survey). Nearly one third of this population lives in Minnesota. In response to this demographic, the University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview conducted a community health needs assessment in 2012. This needs assessment  found that addressing mental health concerns such as stigma and isolation was a priority to members of the Somali community. 99% of Somalis are muslims and addressing cultural and religious taboos related to mental health was identified as a critical variable related to help-seeking behavior and stigma reduction. 

In this project, 10 Imams from four mosques in Minneapolis participated in 8 mental health trainings and dialogues on topics such as depression, chemical dependency, self-care, and motivational interviewing. (Imams are religious leaders in the Muslim faith community and have long served as advocates for the Somali community).  The Imams were provided with tools and resources to help their communities address mental health concerns and they also learned how to refer members from their congregations to mental health services. A multimedia campaign was implemented to help de-stigmatize mental health.

This presentation will share  tools amd methods used to engage Somali Muslim leaders in Mental Health outreach and share lessons learned with peers and researchers interested in exploring this topic.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
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

Keyword(s): Faith Community, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Sahra Noor is a public health nurse and the director of language services and community health at University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. As part of her role at Fairview, she leads community health programs and initiatives. Noor holds a masterís degree in nursing and health systems administration from the University of Minnesota. She is a board member of Pillsbury United Communities and has served as an adviser to American Refugee Committee's Neighbors Initiative. †
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.