The Importance of Mental Health in the Muslim Community

Sadaf Ebrahim

Sadaf Ebrahim is the President of the Canada Pakistan Association (CPA) and the Outreach Coordinator for the South Nepean Muslim Community (SNMC). She is also a passionate advocate for The Royal.

Her goal is to create more awareness and less stigma around mental health within the Muslim community in Ottawa. “Mental illness is still taboo in my community and many people who are suffering don’t want to talk about it,” says Sadaf. 

Sadaf recounts her own childhood living in Pakistan with a mother who lived with untreated mental illness. “I remember when I was around 10 years old, my mom suffered with severe depression and anxiety, and because it was untreated, my siblings and I also suffered,” Sadaf recalls. “I was the oldest and had to miss school often to take care of my siblings when my mom wasn’t able to.”

Prior to COVID, Sadaf was organizing various events for several years through both organizations, in support of The Royal, including the annual CPA Eid dinner. Their mandate is to celebrate, preserve and promote the cultural and religious identity of Pakistan, while being positive contributors to the multicultural mosaic of Canada. SNMC offers many social, educational and spiritual services to the community, while operating within the objective of cooperation to develop the Muslim contribution to the Canadian community. Both organizations are committed to improving our community.

Sadaf talks about mental illness to inspire other people who might feel the stigma and are nervous to reach out for help. “Now I have the courage to talk openly,” she says. “Mental illness is not a shameful thing and the work being done at The Royal is important for our community.” 

We are so grateful to Sadaf, the South Nepean Muslim Community and the Canada Pakistan Association for their longstanding support of The Royal and for changing the conversation around mental health in the Muslim community in Ottawa.