Our youth leaders often work with young teenagers and junior high kids who are suffering through depression and suicidal thoughts. Often, these kids turn to our youth because of the trust they’ve built with them and the comfort they feel within the programs at the masjid.

On February 23rd, the American Muslim Health Professionals in collaboration with CIOGC, held a Mental Health First Aid Training Session that was led by a Muslim mental health professional. This training session gave our youth leaders the tools they need to identify people who may be at risk for suicide or self-harm. They also learned about proper ways to handle the situation, what to say, how to act, and who they can refer to for help. After the 8-hour session, our youth leaders received certification as first responders to identify mental health problems.

Mental health issues are on the rise primarily in our younger populations, and the topic is often overlooked and stigmatized in our society. The need for us to educate ourselves and our youth is growing. Our children can be at great risk if these problems are not professionally handled.

By Shereen Salama