Asalamualaykum Wa Rahmat Allah i Wa Barakatuhu,
Insha’Allah our community is remaining safe and finding time for activities that nourish the soul.
We are pleased to announce and share the experience of the first meeting for the advisory council for Hear Me Out our suicide prevention platform. This platform is a culturally sensitive program intended to educate, de-stigmatize and support individuals in our Muslim and non-Muslim communities in the Waterloo Region and beyond. We firmly believe collaborations and partnerships are critical to building capacity for this work. Together, our advisory committee and youth volunteers commit to working from a place of unconditional love and sincerity to promote emotional well-being and to establish a space where open conversations can occur to promote inner-healing and relationship building.
The goals presented for the first advisory committee were to connect with each other as community leaders, understand the current context within Muslim communities and hear experiences from our leaders in the work they are committed to. We want to reiterate our gratitude for the work our advisory committee consistently commits to in addition to their attendance and sharing expertise on these topics.
Throughout the meeting, members re-stated similar regards, in that suicide is a serious and real challenge affecting families in our communities. Muslim families are not provided with the chance to share their losses and hold back from telling their stories due to stigmas. We were enlightened to personal narratives of loss and the rise in community loss from our dear community leaders such as the MSS chair, the MSS coordinator, imams, a chaplain, and the Executive Director of Suicide Prevention in the Waterloo region.
Elisa Brewer-Sing was prompt and informative as she provided our committee with a presentation that offered relevant statistics of the most affected demographics, and core values we must sustain moving forward. Suicide, as shared by Elisa is an attempt to solve a problem of intense emotional pain, with impaired problem-solving skills and remains deeply complex without a direct, single cause. The promotion of hope (access to resources), help (supporting individuals and families) and healing (opening space for discussions to occur after loss or challenge) will continue to be guiding principles.
Moving forward, the committee has laid out three actionable steps to promote dialogue and healing:
- Development of resources in various languages which offer information on destigmatizing concepts such as person-centered language.
- Work alongside community leaders to open the space for these conversations such as khutbah topics, or personal narratives of how suicide has affected the community or them personally.
- Open and create spaces/ groups to start dialogue related to emotional health and impacts of loss.
We would like to emphasize the MSS staff are consistently available to support, listen and guide our community members that may require further collaborations. If you or anyone you know is seeking further supports, please do not hesitate to reach out, we are here to support you.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
With care and compassion.