On Sunday, January 15,2017, Muslim Family Services, a division of ICNA Relief USA Programs, hosted a mental health workshop called “You are not alone. We are here for you.” at Al-Ikhlas’ Gymnasium in Detroit, MI. The goal of the workshop was to educate the community about the different ways on how to become a strong support system.
The program began after Dhur, the Noon prayer, with a short recitation by Imam Abdul Latif Azom, the imam of Masjid Al Falah. He explained over the past few years, the youth of Hamtramck and Detroit have been dealing with traumatic events such as death in the family, bullying, or relocating to a new place that caused mental issues. The youth took it upon themselves to resolve it instead of reaching out for help. It is important for us to understand the signs and symptoms of mental health issues to support those deal with difficult times.
Sr Aliah Azmeh, the counselor of MFS, continued by explaining what mental health is. “Mental health aspect is something you can't tangibly see. Mental health is about emotions, the way we think and the way we feel. The way we view the world...Nothing is absolute.” Sr Aliah expressed the importance of talking to someone about how we feel. Talking to a counselor may help you find your way out of the dark place.
Afterwards, Br Mohammed Alsanai, the principal of Bridge West, and Sr Raihan Akther, the assessment coordinator of Bridge West had emphasized the importance of having an open relationship between parents and their child. It is necessary for children to feel comfortable to sharing things with their parents. They should not be scolded for speaking about things that are not culturally accepted because children will try to find the answers elsewhere.
Br Mohammed had emphasized that children want attention and they are willing to do anything to receive it, even if it means being around bad company. “Every time you are hanging out with your friends and they are smoking, you don't have to hang out with them. You don't need them. You can find someone else to hang out with. Sometime when you feel you are too strong to hang out with these people, oh they are doing but I'm not. No. Once you hang out with them you are giving yourself access.” After the presentations were given, lunch was passed out and the floor was opened to the audience members to ask any questions they may have in regards to the issue.