Women’s Interfaith Network (WIN) commemorated Mental Health Day 2022 with a new edition of our Time to Talk discussion series, Time to Talk: Mental Health, with Priya Nagda-Swainson, Community Development Officer at Papyrus, Louisa Rose, CEO of Beyond, Emma Dorman, Senior Education Coordinator at Jami UK, and Zainab Ahmed, volunteer at The Lantern Initiative and communications specialist at How Are You Peterborough.
The discussion explored the increased rate of mental health problems in women, and particularly in young women, as well as looking at faith-based and gender-sensitive responses to women’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Our speakers all stressed the impact of the pandemic, leaving young people unable to access support services or to find a sense of community through school, friends or communal worship. These young people have been increasingly relying on social media for connection, and finding themselves drawn into dark corners where social pressures are heightened and self-esteem fluctuates with the algorithm.
Another common thread in our discussion was how important it is for young women seeking help to feel seen and heard, and to be meaningfully represented in mental health services. This is particularly important for women of faith who, rather than have their religion recognised as a core part of their identity or, in Zainab Ahmed’s words, as ‘a total way of life’, often meet with stereotypes and assumptions. With so many young women navigating the combined impact of sexism and structural racism or other forms of bias, like anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, we need mental health services that can understand these aspects of their identity.
For more information on the organisations featured in Time to Talk or to support their work, see the links below:
The Lantern Inititative