UK Muslim podcast to shine light on ‘unspoken’ mental health issues

Supporting Humanity will release an episode every month tackling different issues. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
  • It is hosted by three Muslim mothers who specialize in mental health and emotional support
  • The podcast will advise listeners on how to get help, and offer practical tips by combining mental health and spiritual advice

LONDON: A new podcast that aims to destigmatize the subject of mental health in the UK’s Muslim community will explore topics that are rarely talked about and often overlooked, its hosts say.
The podcast, launching this week, will be released by UK-based mental health and bereavement charity Supporting Humanity on the 25th of every month.
It is hosted by three Muslim mothers who specialize in mental health and emotional support.
“There’s plenty of podcasts out there, but I think there’s a lack of podcasts that are quite focused on the Muslim community, and in particular, focusing on things that are not really spoken about,” Tahreem Noor, a host and head of operations and communications at Supporting Humanity, told Arab News.
The podcast, entitled the “Unspoken Truths about Mental Health,” will feature a range of guests, including people who have experienced mental health issues, as well as emotional support volunteers, imams, counselors and therapists.
The hosts and guests will advise listeners on how to get help, and offer practical tips by combining mental health and spiritual advice.
Noor, 37, said that a lot of existing podcasts only touch on “safe topics” — something that the three hosts hope to avoid.
“What we really want to do with the Supporting Humanity podcast is talk about the truths that are not spoken about, because we’re too scared of opening up that can of worms as we don’t really know where it’s going to take us,” Noor said.
The launch episode, which releases on Friday, will introduce the three hosts and the charity, which was set up at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. From there, the trio will discuss what listeners can expect in the coming episodes, including issues Supporting Humanity has noticed in the past two years that are important to the UK Muslim community.
Noor, a mother of two originally from Pakistan, said that she had experienced mental health issues herself, and had been “very ignorant” and “neglectful” of the subject due to her upbringing in an Asian Muslim household and community.
“Growing up, I always referred to myself as emotionally strong and I think that was wrong, because I conditioned myself to believe that I was emotionally strong. The fact was, I was just hiding my emotions and not talking about them,” she said.
Initially, the three hosts will complete a series on bereavement aimed at those who have lost family members and friends due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting Humanity will release episodes highlighting strategies on dealing with the loss of loved ones, and how to deal with grief as an individual within a marriage and in a family.
An episode to be released before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will provide people with a platform to talk about the difficulties they have experienced with loss and how the fasting month used to be marked.
British Bangladeshi mother-of-two Rebecca Kibria, the lead podcaster, said the main message she is trying to get out is that mental health issues exist and people “do not need to suffer in silence.”
Kibria and Nour are joined by 34-year-old mother-of-two Tayiba Syed, a British Pakistani.
Kibria said the trio will also address the issue of domestic abuse, moving beyond a focus on physical violence.
Other episodes will explore different types of addictions, from alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex, and the effect they have on children or marriages, she added.
Kibria, 27, a psychology graduate, said that Supporting Humanity wants to make the podcast as “diverse and wide ranging as possible. 
“We want to talk about all the different topics. For example, when it’s Black History Month, we want to bring on a Black Muslim who could talk about the struggles they’ve had, because they’ve experienced racism as well, from within the community,” Kibria added.
“The things we want to talk about might make people uncomfortable. But the only way we’re going to destigmatize them is by talking about it.”