For over 17 years Mission of Hope have been hosting conferences and seminars related to mental health issues that are experienced by individuals of Muslim faith and have discussed relevant unique and culturally-specific factors that are important to Muslims and have advocated why religiously and culturally competent interventions are needed for better mental health outcomes.
Mission of Hope have achieved similar service provision outcomes, for example currently providing a culturally-appropriate drug and alcohol counselling service, Hayat House.
Often, we get asked why a dedicated Muslim crisis line is needed to service our diverse Muslim community in Australia when there are mainstream services available.
Hayat Line is not in competition with mainstream crisis line services but after many consultations with Muslim mental health professionals indicating that many of their clients will not contact mainstream services in times of emotional crisis, this initiative is a significantly welcomed alternative for people of Muslim faith.
Over 10 years a number of mental health clinicians at Mission of Hope devised a unique initiative running a 24-hour crisis line for the Australian Muslim community for 18 months where at the time it was called ‘Amal Line’, Amal meaning ‘hope’ in a number of different languages.
We were happy with the service delivery but the lack of funding to continue servicing the line meant that we could not continue the service. Not forgetting to mention running a 24-hour line was too charismatic to sustain in terms of volunteers who were all mental health workers.
Fast forward 2020 and we now have Hayat Line where we have renamed and redesigned the crisis line service that is entirely funded by the generosity of the Muslim community.
Anecdotally, when Muslim mental health clinicians get together and network discussing urgent mental health needs of our community, a crisis line is always top 3 of the hierarchy of needs.
We recognised that not everyone will have supports around them in times of need whether it’s because of isolation, experiencing emotional pain, geographical obstacles, or experiencing mental illness so having a dedicated crisis line that is free and confidential is an important service supporting individuals in distress through connection, compassion, rahma, nasihah and hope.
Hayat Line is providing a culturally responsive and culturally sensitive service where the mental health professionals answering the calls would have a level of competent understanding of a Muslim caller’s background, ethnicity, and religious belief systems.
Hayat Line counsellors can incorporate cultural and religious sensitivity into their responses to accommodate and respect differences in opinions, values, and attitudes of callers within the Muslim community.
Muslims also have a cultural disadvantage when accessing mainstream mental health services and resources especially in terms of addressing their spiritual and religious identities.
Muslims require culturally and religiously specific services to address issues pertaining to their vulnerable disadvantages related to: identity, stigma, stress, victims of Islamophobia, at-risk behaviours, unemployment, mental health issues, isolation, loneliness, suicidal, death and dying, anxiety, depressed and can also feel alienated from their own community and the wider mainstream society.
Muslims can also face challenging psychosocial and personal concerns such as, but not limited to:
– Substance abuse
– Trauma and abuse
– Domestic Violence
– Suicidal thoughts or attempts, and self-harm behaviour
Hayat Line is important because:
- this crisis lines provides a service to people in our community and particularly to persons at risk of suicide or thinking about suicide
- because we offer non-sectarian, non-judgemental and confidential emotional support in times of personal and emotional crisis when individuals may feel unable to cope with the challenges in their lives.
- because we can refer you to services that you may not know that are available to help you in times of crisis or emotional distress
- because people struggling need regular contact, social supports, and caring that is commonly met by family and friends or even work colleagues is ideally met by other people around them, such as parents, siblings, friends, teachers and colleagues
- to help alleviate the distress experienced by a person and can reduce the intensity of such feelings to enable problem-solving and practical actions to be considered in response to personal problems
- because it gives individuals from our community a sense of belonging, a sense of connection
- because often those who are suicidal do not seek help from face-to-face health services or support from friends or family members
- because it removes the barrier of stigma surrounding suicide and mental health problems that could prevent a person from seeking help in other ways
- Hayat line is confidential and you can remain anonymous
The service has been uniquely tailored to Muslims right from when the crisis call is made. When you first call Hayat Line, you will get an automated greeting. A counsellor does not come on the line immediately. After dialling 1300 993 398 you will hear the following automated message:
“Assalam Alaymum. You have reached Hayat Line. If you are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis or are concerned about someone who might be, we’re here to help. Hayat line is a crisis line for brief intervention only. If this is a medical emergency hang up now and call triple 000. Please remain on the line while we direct your call to the nearest crisis centre in our network.”
If you call outside of Hayat Line hours of Monday to Friday 9am-5pm you will only receive a message recording.
Hayat Line is:
– a free and confidential crisis support line for Muslims in Australia.
– aimed at helping those who are experiencing a personal crisis and distress.
– giving individuals access to emotional support for suicide prevention.
– is committed to empowering Muslim Australians to be heard and supported through connection, compassion, rahma, nasihah and hope
– Australia’s first crisis line for Muslims that is entirely community funded.
– operating initially from Monday to Friday 9am-5pm weekdays with the intention to expand its operational hours to weekends and designated after hour times.
Why Mission of Hope is a trusted mental health service for Muslims?
Mission of Hope have extensive professional and community-based experience networks and their executive committee is also made up of experienced mental health specialists.
Our organisation strengths and experience in mental health makes us unique in the way we operate.
We are dedicated to the delivery of mental health services in a manner that addresses the needs of the diverse Muslim community in Australia.
Hayat Line 1300 993 398
Crisis Nasihah. Hope. Referral.
Hayat Line Clinical Director: Hanan Dover
Clinical and Forensic Psychologist (Founder, Mission of Hope)