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Looking forward to 2021 with MYH

Posted on 18 January 2021

Dear Muslim Youth Helpline community,

2020 was the year we felt loss and sorrow on a large scale. It was also the year we showed strength and resilience on a magnitude. It was a year we discussed mental health and wellbeing at length, and across community groups. A year we decided to put our health and wellbeing, and the wellbeing of others at the forefront. MYH took on our biggest challenge in 2020. Our helpline was the busiest it’s ever been, with our helpline receiving more than 7000 enquiries. That’s a 300% increase in traffic from last year. The nature of our calls reflected what many of us dealt with this year: loss, anxiety, grief, and sadness.

I was recently reflecting on how my faith and community supported me through 2020; it got me thinking about what I held onto when things weren’t great. Loss was a word used regularly for 2020; loss of time, loss of jobs and opportunities, and loss of loved ones. Like many, I lost a loved one during 2020. My community, my faith, and my family taught me to process and comprehend the loss. My faith and community taught me about the individual responsibility to ensure that the people around us are safe and protected. Responsibility to protect my community and myself allowed me to make better sense of some of the enforced rules. My faith helped me appreciate my home when I became sick and tired of the same four walls. My faith allowed me to understand collective responsibility for humanity’s greater good. My faith helped me cope.

The last ten months have not been easy, but there is beauty in everything, and my faith gave me a lens to see beauty when everything else seemed dark. At MYH, we recognise that people need a safe space to talk about their most challenging moments. We value these spaces as non-judgemental, empowering and non-directional. We want to provide a safe space for you to comprehend your most challenging moments.

Despite the difficulty of the last ten months, we also grew in many ways at MYH. We accepted the challenge set forth as many more people accessed our helpline, and persevered to ensure we were meeting our beneficiaries’ needs. Our mission to run a helpline that supports vulnerable people in need was required more than ever in 2020, and we delivered. Some of these highlights include:

– We launched WhatsApp, and continue to find ways to ensure our helpline is accessible to our beneficiaries

– We brought in a full-time helpline manager, who is working hard to ensure our helpline is an excellent service for the people we serve

– Worked with and supported by some fantastic partners, including Barnardo’s, Islamic Relief and The Association of Mental Health Providers and PwC.

We’re excited to maintain the same momentum, and already have some ideas planned for 2021.

What to look forward to in 2021

– MYH will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in August

– MYH are part of the ‘My Best Friend project’, with a group of excellent partners.

Empowering 10,000+ young women with knowledge and confidence to act before

someone harms or is harmed and keeps themselves and others safe.

– Working harder to find ways to support young Muslims in need

Thank you to every one of you who supported us in 2020. You helped us continue to run the helpline when our community most needed a safe space. I wish you all good health and wellbeing.

We’re open every day in 2021 from 4 pm – 10 pm.

Maaria Mahmood

Director – Muslim Youth Helpline