Fatimah Jackson-Best is a healthcare researcher, advocate and academic. While studying for her PhD in public health science at the University of Toronto, she relocated from the city of her birth to the island where she traces half of her heritage: Barbados. Her PhD research project focuses on Afro-Caribbean women's maternal health; however, her interests also include the health of Muslim communities.
Mariam Nouser is an entrepreneur and blogger based in Toronto, Canada. While she is a full time student in university, she splits her free time between her presidential duties of the Ryerson MSA, running her own blog, being a Project Coach for the crowdfunding platform – LaunchGood as well as a barista for Starbucks.
In addition to her blessings, she has been the victim of Islamophobia whilst wearing the hijab and hopes to share her unique stories with everyone in order to cope with times of loss, confusion and trauma. As someone who suffers from a mental illness, she aspires to create a platform that increases dialogue within such a “taboo” topic.
Along with tackling an important but often taboo subject within Ottawa’s Muslim communities, mental illness, the conference also marked an unprecedented collaboration between members of Ottawa’s Sunni and Shia communities.
May 2 to 8th is Mental Health Week in Canada. In recognition of this week, Muslim Link is publishing a Letter to the Editor from one of our readers, a Muslim woman in Ottawa who was recently diagnosed with depression. She shares her journey in the hopes that it helps other Muslims inshallah.
Mental health advocate Saba Malik has returned to blogging on the subject of mental illness and Islam after a significant absence. Muslim Link interviewed Saba about her personal struggle with bipolar disorder and her renewed commitment to creating an online community of support for her fellow Muslims coping with the illness.
Serenity Islamic Mental Health Awareness was founded last year as a way to address the stigma and common myths associated with mental illness in Ottawa’s Muslim Communities. It is led by Berak Hussain, a practicing counsellor and graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Masters’ in Counselling Program, and a number of university students. At present they have organized a few presentations on mental health by qualified mental health service providers who come from Muslim and non-Muslim backgrounds.
Muslim Link interviewed Berak Hussain about the initiative.