Mental Health Training for Imams


Imams play a central role in providing guidance to ensure the spiritual, physical and mental well-being of community members. As trusted community leaders, Imams can play a significant role in promoting mental health awareness, reducing stigma, and providing support to those who are struggling with mental health issues. This workshop is designed to provide Imams with the knowledge and skills they need to support their community members in maintaining good mental health. Imams are first responders, and can be helpful in ensuring that community members in need are referred to trained mental health professionals.

In this workshop, Imams will learn:

  1. The basics of mental health and common mental health issues.
  2. Common mental health issues: Discussing common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  3. How to recognize warning signs of mental health issues in community members.
  4. How to make your masjid or office a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals with mental health issues through inclusive language, staff training, policies and procedures, and fostering a culture of acceptance
  5. Strategies for reducing stigma surrounding mental health in the Muslim community.
  6. The importance of self-care for Imams and the congregation.
  7. How to collaborate with mental health professionals and make appropriate referrals.
  8. Crisis intervention strategies and suicide prevention.

This workshop will be led by mental health professionals with expertise in Islamic counseling.

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in group discussions to share their experiences and learn from each other.

By the end of this workshop, Imams will be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to promote mental health awareness, reduce stigma, and provide support to those who are struggling with mental health issues in their communities


Dr. Rania Awaad, who is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Director of the Stanford Lab on Muslim Mental Health. She is affiliate faculty of Islamic Psychology at the Cambridge Muslim College and the Islamic Seminary of America, as well as a Senior Fellow at both the Yaqeen Institute and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. She has also previously served as the first female Professor of Islamic Law at Zaytuna College. Before all these considerations, she has systematic pursued (and continues to pursue) classical Islamic studies in Damascus, Syria where she holds multiple certifications (ijaza) in Qur’an, Islamic Law and other branches of the Islamic Sciences.

Dr. Omar M. Mahmood is currently a neuropsychologist at Executive Mental Health, in Los Angeles, CA. Previously, he was the Acting Clinical Director of Psychology and a clinical neuropsychologist at Sidra Medicine, the largest women’s and children’s hospital in Qatar. He was also an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry, at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is licensed to practice psychology in California and in Qatar. He has conducted numerous neuropsychological evaluations of children and adults. He is also experienced in providing evidence-based psychotherapy. Dr. Mahmood graduated from UCLA with a double-major Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology and Arabic. After his undergraduate studies, he traveled to Hadramawt, Yemen where he studied Arabic and Islamic Studies at Dar al-Mustafa. He then completed a MA degree and a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Mahmood completed his clinical psychology internship and his postdoctoral neuropsychology fellowship at the University of California, San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System. He frequently gives community lectures on topics of mental health, brain development, and psychology from an Islamic perspective. In addition, he has served as an ad-hoc reviewer for various peer-reviewed scientific journals in the fields of substance use, psychology, neuropsychology, and neuroimaging.