Skip to Main Content

University of Hertfordshire-led team awarded more than half a million to research faith-based mental health programme for young Muslim women

17 Apr 2024

A University of Hertfordshire-led research team has won more than half a million in funding to evaluate a new faith-based mental health intervention aimed at supporting young Muslim women.

The team, formed of researchers from the universities of Hertfordshire, East Anglia, Leeds and Birmingham City, plus representatives from the charities Inspirited Minds and C3 Collaborating for Health, were awarded the funding by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to fund the “IM-Adapted Trial” (NIHR156425). The project will also be supported by public advisors with relevant lived experience.

The study will explore whether a new mental health programme for young Muslim women aged 18-24 in Birmingham and East London can be successfully evaluated. The programme integrates culturally meaningful activities, such as reflecting on learnings from the Quran, into a mental health support programme, building on the one currently offered by the NHS.

Long-term mental health conditions among young people continue to increase, with young women three times more likely to be affected than men. Research shows mental health issues affect minority ethnic populations differently, with evidence of increased long-term depression among Muslims compared to others. British Muslims are also less likely to access mental health services due to the belief that “many don’t understand or address their cultural needs”.

While it is hoped that culturally tailored interventions could improve mental health and well-being if they are more meaningful to those needing them, evidence is needed on whether they work.

“It is concerning that Muslims are under-referred to therapy services for mental health problems and show poor recovery rates compared to the general population. This has resulted in inequalities in mental health care and poor treatment for mental health problems.

“There is a clear unmet need for treatment that is greatest in underserved and ethnic minority communities, and many young Muslim women are struggling to get the right support. This study, exploring a religiously tailored intervention, will encourage young Muslims to discuss mental health and well-being and help-seeking behaviours.”

Professor Daksha Trivedi Professor of Applied Health Research University of Hertfordshire

The Inspirited Minds (IM)-Adapted programme, is a faith-based, culturally adapted, peer support group intervention tailored to the specific needs of Muslim communities to help promote and improve mental health. The study will compare the IM programme with a typical mental health programme like that available on the NHS.

Researchers involved in the IM-Adapted trial are now encouraging young Muslim women, aged 18-24, from Birmingham and East London and seeking help for depression or low mood, to sign up to take part in this study.


“At Inspirited Minds, we are passionate about building a society where Muslims experiencing mental health challenges are validated and empowered to live fulfilling lives while taking their faith and culture into consideration. This programme is attempting to do just that by tailoring the support provided to the cultural and religious needs of young Muslim women; a group that particularly struggles with stigma associated with poor mental health, forming a real barrier to getting effective help. This research will provide important insights into how this new approach might work and open doors for this form of intervention to be used in more mainstream services.”

Safiyah Khan Counselling and Support Manager Inspired Minds

The project is being co-led by Professor Andy Jones, a public health academic with the charity C3 Collaborating for Health. He said: “At C3 Collaborating for Health, we work alongside communities to support them to lead healthier lives. We are passionate about improving the quality of evidence being generated around programmes that aim to improve health and wellbeing. Better evidence means we have a better idea of what works and why. This new study, which is a close collaboration between academia and the charity sector, shows how working together helps achieve that goal.”

Volunteers who take part in the IM-Adapted trial will not only help provide invaluable learnings for the study, but also have the opportunity to engage with a mental health programme delivered by trained Muslim therapists in Mosques and Community Centres.

You can contact the study team if you have any questions.


Press Office

+44 (0)1707 285 770
Back to Top