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Training imams, other faith-based leaders to spot first signs of mental illness

A woman in a dark room



When mental illness strikes a loved one, the first person many families turn to is often a faith-based leader: a priest, a minister, a rabbi, or an imam.

The Ninth Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference aims to help clergy do a better job of helping members of their congregation who are suffering from mental illness.

The conference will run April 13-14th at the Michigan State University Department of Psychiatry.

This event brings faith leaders together with health care providers and researchers from all over the world. The public is also welcome.

Dr. Farha Abbasi is the founder of this conference. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University. Imam Steve Mustapha Al Turk is with the Islamic Organization of North America, based in Warren, and has participated in the Mental Health First Responder Training offered through the conference.

They hope the model of enlisting faith leaders in mental health response can expand into all religious and cultural communities.

Minding Michigan is Stateside’s ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state.

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