A DOCUMENTARY looking at mental health issues within the Muslim community directed by a University of Bradford student is set to be shown on national television.

'A Direct Look: Mental Health in the Muslim Community' explores issues including depression and anxiety and what help is available for Muslims.

Ahseem Yousuf, 24, of East Bowling, directed the programme, which was also produced by his Blurred Vision Productions company.

The documentary was filmed in sites across the UK including London and Bradford.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Ahseem YousufAhseem Yousuf

There are also first-hand accounts from a British Muslim man who received help for depression and anxiety.

The documentary explores potential stigmas around seeking professional help for mental health difficulties within the Muslim community and the effects the pandemic has had on people who may be isolated at home due to lockdown.

The 23-minute-long programme will be screened on British Muslim TV on Sunday, May 16 at 7.30pm.

It features interviews with a variety of support group workers, including Masira Hans, of Bradford-based Sharing Voices; Maaria Mahmood and Hadil Nour, from the Muslim Youth Service Helpline and Alisha Thomas, operations manager of Victim Support West Yorkshire.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sharing Voices Bradford features in the documentarySharing Voices Bradford features in the documentary

The programme includes statistics from a 2018 report which revealed 32 per cent of young Muslim people suffered from suicidal thoughts; 52 per cent suffered from depression and 63 per cent suffered with anxiety and half of British Muslims had experienced from mental health issues within the past year.

The programme includes scenes filmed at Sharing Voices Bradford, a community development mental health organisation actively supporting and working with diverse minority communities of Bradford, where Masira explains the process they use to work with new people referred to them for mental health issues.

In the programme, Masira said: "People used to be able to go to places like the gym and restaurants to de-stress, now they aren't able to do that.

"Our clients used to come here once a week to our group sessions, now we don't really have that.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Scenes from Bradford feature in Ahseem Yousuf's documentaryScenes from Bradford feature in Ahseem Yousuf's documentary

"We discuss what we can do together to make it better for them.

"We have group work and get them to mix with people with similar experiences to themselves.

"They realise that they are not alone and things can get better."

Meanwhile, the filming of the programme was delayed when Ahseem himself tested positive for Covid in December last year. He has fully recovered since.

It is his first programme for British Muslim TV, who saw his short horror film, Butchers Day, which was released in March last year.

Ahseem, who is a third and final-year Film and TV student at the University of Bradford, and is British-Pakistani himself.

He said: "Ninety-five per cent of people are supportive on this subject.

"It was the hardest thing I have filmed.

"Mental health problems affect Muslims the same way as everyone, but they might not have the same access to services.

"I filmed this programme in London and Bradford. I filmed it around Bradford, at some of the mosques.

"People think it's better to speak to people within the community, than outside.

"Most people are more than happy to help you with mental health issues.

"There is help out there and it is quite hopeful that there is a lot of help out there.

"Mental health is one of those things that carries a stigma with it.

"There are not as many services available to Muslims and they feel they can't always go to mainstream services."

The documentary also looks at the importance of people seeking help for mental health issues and what type of help is available.

Alisha said: "There is nothing wrong in seeking help, that's the important message to send to the Muslim community."