Facts About Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline
Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline is a nonprofit helpline that started in Toronto in 2006 to provide a safe and confidential avenue for Muslim youth across North America to seek help anonymously. We receive calls from Florida to Hawaii, Nova Scotia to British Columbia, and everywhere in between. Our callers include high school and post-secondary students, graduates, and parents. Our service is available to those that don’t have a strong support system, or those who may not want to speak to an imam, a peer, or a family member for various reasons. We also refer callers to professional resources in their city.
Our toll-free service is available after school hours from 6 – 9pm Monday to Friday at 1-866-Naseeha. We receive over 900 phone calls a year and anticipate seeing that number rise as more communities learn about our service. Our helpline Peer-Counselors handle a variety of issues. Depression, Spirituality, Relationships, Divorce, Self-Harm, Suicide, Pornography and Masturbation, Homosexuality, Sexual Assault, and the list goes on. Our Peer-Counselors are dealing with issues that are too often stigmatized in our community. It is our hope that Naseeha can break the stigma and provide access to those seeking support and professional help. Our peer-counselors are 18 – 35 years of age and have studied and grown up in North America. They have years of experience working with youth and have gone through training developed by social workers.
Naseeha’s aim is to become the most recognized counseling service for Muslim youth in North America, and to develop the most extensive referral database of Muslim social service agencies and specialists in an effort to improve access to those seeking help. Naseeha is run by dedicated volunteers and funded entirely by private donors who sustain our operational costs.
Do Naseeha Peer-Counselors receive their Islamic Training from?
We invited The Muslim Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto to train our Peer-Counseling team on the prophetic model of counseling, empathy, and listening. As a Muslim Youth Helpline, enabling our callers to seek support from the Quran, and stories of the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) life is a vital component of our counseling methodology. We hope to work with local scholars and imams to train our volunteers on using the Quran and Ahadith to empower our callers.
Do Naseeha Peer-Counselors provide fatwas to callers?
Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline Peer-Counselors do not issue Islamic rulings, nor discuss issues pertaining to Islamic jurisprudence/law. All callers inquiring about halal/haram are referred to their local Islamic centres for 2 reasons: to receive accurate information, and to build a relationship with that centre, to receive ongoing support and a sense of community and belonging.
How can I trust Naseeha with advising the youth?
Our Peer-Counselors have extensive experience in youth counseling and mentorship. Most have studied Psychology or Applied Social Sciences, and some are registered Social Workers and Therapists working in their field. With their combined experience, our Peer-Counselors bring a breadth of experience to our team, from Grief and Bereavement Counseling. Life Coaching, Crisis Intervention, Suicide, and Substance Abuse Counseling.
Where do Naseeha Peer-Counselors receive their training from?
Naseeha has developed an internal training program to provide on-going training for our helpline volunteers throughout the year. Earlier this year, we were fortunate to have The Muslim Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto conduct our Islamic Counseling module, then Sr. Abeer Faruqui, Registered Therapist, train our team on Counseling Skills. Our team received their Suicide Alertness Certificate through LivingWorks’ SAFETalk program. We hope to continue investing in the development of our Peer-Counselors throughout the year by partnering with professionals and organizations in our community.
How do I know my call is completely confidential?
Our helpline is toll-free, anonymous and confidential. Our phone number will not show on your phone bill for family/friends to be able to track. Caller ID is blocked and our helpline Peer-Counselors do not see your number.
All information you share with our Peer-Counselors will be kept completely confidential within the team. There are a few limitations to the confidentiality however. Information will be disclosed with or without consent if there is:
1. Concern that you may be a harm to yourself or someone else
2. If there is concern of a child being abused, neglected or witnessing abuse
3. If any information is subpoenaed by the court
Why should youth call NASEEHA and not another counselling service?
Naseeha recognizes the valuable service other providers are making to the community at large. We are unique because the Peer-Counselors have an in-depth understanding of the issues Muslim youth face in North America on a day to day basis. We understand the value of faith, and the barriers Muslims face in seeking support for various reasons, different values, misunderstanding the faith, lack of cultural competence, etc. We acknowledge faith as a major component in overall mental health and well-being and seek to help callers strengthen their relationship to Islam.
What is “Islamic” about this service? What is the “Islamic framework”?
NASEEHA counsellors are not there to issue fatwas or give advice about Islam. Rather, NASEEHA counsellors are mindful of the norms present in the majority of Muslim cultures, as well as the diverse issues faces by Muslims of all cultures.
***Only if you are really pressed, relay the following information:
For callers who may be seeking Islamic knowledge or a fatwa, rather than turning callers away, counsellors refer them to a respected scholar within their community.
Doesn’t this service just isolate Muslim youth?
Many Muslim youth already feel isolated because they cannot find anyone who can understand their issues or find someone who can help them work through them. By providing this service, we ensure that youth in North America always have someone there, ready and willing to help them. Counsellors never encourage isolation or avoidance of issues as a solution.