Thursday, July 28, 2022, 7 pm EST
Islamophobia and Muslim American Mental Health: Suggestions for Psychological Outreach, Advocacy, and Clinical Intervention
Speaker: Mona M. Amer, PhD
Mona M. Amer, PhD, is a Professor of clinical and community psychology and founding chair of the Department of Psychology at the American University in Cairo. She co-founded and served as first elected president of the American Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African Psychological Association (AMENA-Psy). Dr. Amer focuses on U.S. racial/ethnic disparities in behavioral health, with specializations in the Arab and Muslim minorities. She is interested in how immigration experiences, acculturation stressors, discrimination, and minority status contribute to disparities, and ways to eliminate inequities through culturally competent services, community-based programming, and social policy. Dr. Amer’s publications include two articles in American Psychologist and two landmark co-edited books: Handbook of Arab American Psychology and Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions. In 2020 she received the AMENA-Psy Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Scholarship.
Islamophobic rhetoric is commonplace in political and media discourses, contributing to a hostile environment for Muslims living in the U.S. This interactive presentation will orient participants to risk and protective factors influencing the mental health of Muslims Americans within this current socio-political context, and how psychologists can intervene in community and clinical settings to support Muslim American wellbeing. The presentation will first review impacts of interpersonal and structural discrimination faced by Muslim Americans on their psychological wellbeing. Barriers to service utilization will be discussed, and in lieu of the traditional medical model, psychologists will be encouraged to consider other forms of intervention related to outreach, advocacy, and prevention. Suggestions will be provided for building rapport with local communities when engaging in these activities, which may in turn facilitate service access and utilization for Muslim clients. For Muslim clients who do seek psychotherapeutic services, recommendations will be provided for enhancing resilience, discussing Islamophobia-related trauma, and drawing from local and national resources. Throughout the presentation, participants will be challenged to integrate social justice and culturally responsive frameworks when interacting with Muslims.