The burgeoning mental health crisis on today’s campuses has resulted in some college religious groups adding mental health clinicians into campus religious hubs. And religious leaders who work with students struggling with issues of faith and spirituality are also being trained to know how and when to refer students for psychological care. In addition, to better serve Muslim students, the Muslim Mental Health Initiative (MMHI) has placed therapists at institutions like UC Berkeley and Stanford with plans to continue expanding. And Hillel centers on at least 15 campuses have added social workers or staff members dedicated to the well-being of Jewish students they serve.
Such strategies work to focus on students who are members of minority religious groups that have faced discrimination, reported The Hechinger Report. Jewish and Muslim students, as well as those from other religious groups, may have trouble finding therapists who share and/or understand their religious identity.
“To me, it’s like night and day,” said Dr. Rania Awaad, a Stanford University psychiatry professor who was asked to hold therapy-like office hours with Muslim students, in reference to the availability of the MMHI resource to the campus community. “The students, when they know that support is there, there’s something to fall back on, they feel a sense of belonging, which is really, really important.”
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