City Research Online

The Broader Social Context of Help-Seeking Behaviours Including a Research Study Pertaining to Imams and the Muslim Community

Choudhury, O. (2015). The Broader Social Context of Help-Seeking Behaviours Including a Research Study Pertaining to Imams and the Muslim Community. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This research endeavoured to explore the Imam’s experience of managing the mental health needs of the Muslim community given the contemporary issues faced by the Islamic population, including stigma of accessing mental health services (Inayat, 2007) exacerbated by political demonisation (Tahir, 2005; Sheridan, 2006; Gottschalk & Greenberg, 2007; Ameli et al., 2007). Recommendations were made for mental health professionals to consider the views of formal religious leaders to; understand the helpseeking behaviours of the Muslim community including clarity for the implication of religious methods of coping (Mullick et al., 2013) and; reduce stigma of accessing mental health services by establishing communication pathways with local mosques (Amri & Bemak, 2013).

Method: A qualitative methodological approach was employed in the form of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith et al., 2009). A compilation of transcripts from six semistructured interviews with male Imams were subjected to an IPA thematic analysis as described by Landridge (2004). This was achieved by a process of ‘coding’ the individual accounts of participants.

Results: Three main themes emerged entitled ‘Mending the broken bridge’; ‘Alleviating distress’; ‘Role identity’. The Imams attempted to restore psychological wellbeing using a range of consultation extending beyond the sphere of religion and spirituality. However limited direct collaboration between public health providers and mosques resulted in Imams signposting Muslim clients to either their GP, or to seek support from allied health professionals. While the Imams expressed openness to refer directly onto formal services they were uncertain how to proceed with this.

Conclusion: Imams held a relational landscape when connecting to others on a humanistic level by drawing on their binary skills of an Islamic minister and a learned-resourceful individual in the heart of the community. However there remains a need to establish a direct referral pathway between Imams and health providers to ‘catch’ Muslim individuals who fall through the gap with help-seeking for mental health problems, as it was apparent from the findings of the study. This may necessitate a transparent dialogue between all parties for understanding of one another’s roles, in line with the multi-modal considerations of the Muslim client framework developed by the researcher.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
Date Deposited: 01 May 2018 09:35
Text - Accepted Version
Download (2MB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login