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One in Every Five Canadians Experience Mental Health Challenges

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One in every five Canadians will suffer from a mental health challenge in any given year. Mental health touches all Canadians indirectly at some point, whether through their personal experience or that of a family member, friend, or colleague.

The Islamic community in Winnipeg faces significant mental health challenges. Non-profit organizations like the Manitoba Islamic Association hold workshops throughout the year to educate and support the community in their mental health journeys.

Journalist Zuher Almusre from U Multicultural Channel spoke with Khalid Iqbal founder and director of Rahmaa Institute. This non-profit organization studies family issues experienced by Muslims living in North America. According to Iqbal mental health is a real issue facing the American and Canadian public, and the Muslim community is not exempt from this.

“We, as Muslims, are not different from anybody else. We all suffer from it because of our many issues, whether finances, relationships, health, or any other issues we can face. Especially here in Manitoba, the winter season affects people’s mental health.”

Winter is a challenging time. Lack of outdoor activities, less sunlight, and fewer community engagements can dramatically affect one’s mental state. The pandemic took an even greater toll. Environmental factors such as access to safe and affordable housing, meaningful education, and employment impact our mental health. Government-funded mental health programs and initiatives are key to supporting the mental health of Canadians.

Canadians spend an estimated $950 million per year on private practice psychologists. About 30 percent of this is paid out of pocket, with the remaining covered by employer-based private health insurance coverage.

There isn’t a simple way to balance mental health; it’s a constant effort where one must always be vigilant. However, increased awareness and support programs and systems can make that balancing act a little bit easier.

– Zuher Almusre, U Multicultural

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