Increase in distress calls to Muslim Youth Helpline

Muslim Youth Helpline

The Muslim Youth Helpline is taking action over the growing distress experienced by young British Muslims, as recent data reveals the proportion of phone calls received from people in anxiety and distress has increased by 57% compared with the same time last year.

Muslim Youth Helpline is the UK’s first and only dedicated helpline for young Muslims. It is operated by volunteers aged 18-28, and has received over 23,000 calls since launching from the bedroom of its founder, then aged 18, in 2001.

The helpline is receiving more calls than can be handled from young British Muslims in distress and to help cope with this demand, Muslim Youth Helpline is working with mainstream support services to help them connect with this hard to reach group and today re-launches its website as a safe space for young people to help and support each other online 24 hrs a day.

Rukaiya Jeraj, Muslim Youth Helpline spokesperson, said, “We are seeing a worrying increase in the proportion of our callers in serious distress, for example experiencing anxiety or depression, with many talking about self-harm or experiencing suicidal feelings.

“For most young people, finding their place in the world is hard. Young British Muslims not only deal with everyday teenage angst over issues like relationships, but many also contend with a sense of social exclusion, the fear and experience of discrimination, and seeing themselves wrongly portrayed in the public arena as a dangerous presence in society. We believe this is contributing to the problems our callers are experiencing.”

Asian Image, 30 April 2009