Centring Muslim Girls’ Mental Wellbeing in Schools
A group of students in Tower Hamlets have co-directed a film to discuss how important it is for their wellbeing to have safe spaces where they can explore their identity through open discussions, creativity and physical activity. The film 'Centring Muslim Girls’ Mental Wellbeing in Schools' aims to help teachers reflect on what they can do in their practice, as well as the wider school, to allow Muslim girls to bring their whole selves. Are they creating learning environments that give space for Muslim girls to fully and creatively express themselves?
In the context of a growing mental health crisis among young people in the UK, it's become increasingly evident that social pressures stemming from the cost-of-living crisis and the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have had a devastating effect on the wellbeing of young people.
We know that young people from racialised backgrounds are disproportionately affected by this mental health crisis due to the multiple inequalities that they face. Muslim girls in particular experience unique challenges such as racism, sexism, Islamophobia and the pervasive effects of government policies like Prevent.
Generic, one-size fits all approaches to mental health lack the multi-dimensional and accurate reflection required to meet the distinct needs of these communities.
For schools interested in taking an anti-racist approach and ensuring that they are meeting their Public Sector Equality Duties, it is vital that they understand the intersection between mental health and race, gender, and religion.
What We Did
As part of our Muslim Girls Fence project, we work with schools across the country to create safe spaces for Muslim girls to explore their identity and improve wellbeing. Our approach includes a combination of fencing sessions, creative workshops and open discussions around race, gender and faith.
We worked together with students aged 12-17 at Mulberry School for Girls in East London to create a film exploring what affects young people’s mental health today.
The film also highlights the expertise of Consultant Counselling Psychologist Lubna Dar, who offers valuable insight on how schools can be better equipped to support the unique needs of young people from racialised backgrounds.
It showcases the importance of schools taking an anti-racist, culturally competent, and youth-led approach to ensure they create learning environments where young people feel heard and cared for.