Naseeha is a Muslim youth helpline which provides anonymous support for youth experiencing personal challenges. Naseeha means ‘advice’ in Arabic. Last year, the Canadian help-center received 2,000 calls but this year, the number is expected to double.
Outreach manager Huma Saeedi says that despite the numbers, mental health continues to be a stigmatized topic in Muslim households. “There’s still a lot of taboo,” she said, adding that the issues Muslim youth face are similar to the ones non-Muslims face. “The issues are just magnified when you’re part of a smaller, marginalized community where often the parents may not have that support available to provide to their children.”
At the helpline, Muslim youth can call and speak to Muslim peer counselors who have a “better understanding of the background of where they’re coming from culturally and religiously,” says Ms.Saeedi. “We’re there not to provide any type of judgment, not to give any opinions from our own selves, or what we believe the religion may or may not say about it. We’re there for them to provide them support through what they’re struggling with.”