Episode One – Mental Health

Guest speakers: Rabbi Jill Zimmerman and Zariah Horton.

Moderated by:  Ahmed Abedin (NewGround 2018-19 Fellow).

A conversation with Rabbi Jill Zimmerman and Zariah Horton  about mental health in the Muslim and Jewish communities. Together they discuss how people view mental health in their respective faith communities, the stigma of mental health,  the importance of mental health training for religious leaders in faith communities, and the crisis of faith or religion, sins, vis-a-vis depression and anxiety. The two share personal stories, relate to the holy scriptures, experiences of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and offer their own ideas about the role of mental health in these faith communities.

Show Notes:

-  7 Spiritual Tips to Maintain Your Sanity in the Time of Trump & Mueller:

- Data on association between spirituality, religiousness, and mental health: 

- Info on spirituality and mental health research: 

- CDC's data for the importance of suicide awareness and prevention:

- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 

- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224 

- WHO data on mental, behavioral, and neurological disorders (neuropsychiatric disorders) combined rank higher than both cancer and heart disease (neoplasm) 

Episode release:  Monday, April 29, 2019.

Episode Two – Marginalized Groups

Speakers: Susan Brooks, Yasmin Kadir,  Matthew Lavi, Gina Rozner (NewGround 2018-19 Fellow), and Alan Goff (Former NewGround Fellow).

Throughout history folks fall into identities that are marginalized from the majority groups. This trope holds true within religious communities as well. In this episode five current and former fellows engage in round table discussions about their experiences of marginalization and intersectionality within the Jewish and Muslim communities. Alan and Susan share their own experiences and stories of friends and family about how race plays a role in interactions within their respective faiths. Gina and Yasmin discuss their experiences of being a part of religious communities, as women, that have strict gender roles and expectations and are patriarchally rooted. Gina, Matthew, and Alan share their journeys of coming out and being out in communities and families that have historically interpreted religious texts through a lens that does not validate the lifestyle and experience of LGBTQ folks.

Episode release: Friday, May 3, 2019.

Episode Three – Antisemitism and Islamophobia

Guest speakers:  Edina Lekovic, and Rabbi Mel Gottleib, Ph.D.

Moderated by Khulood Madani, Eric Katz, and Ahmed Abedin (NewGround 2018-19 Fellows).

Societal Antisemitism and Islamophobia negatively affect the mental health of Jews and Muslims domestically and across the globe. As a result, these prejudices can lead to difficulties with depression, anxiety, states of hyper-vigilance, and even suicide across both communities respectively. In this three-part podcast, we unravel the ideas behind Antisemitism and Islamophobia and discuss their various permutations over the course of history to the modern day. We share our personal experiences with Antisemitism and Islamophobia and explore the ways in which they impact the mental health of Jewish and Muslim communities at large. Lastly, we offer resources and hold space to help our listeners and communities to heal and transcend the impact of this societal prejudice. 

Show Notes:

- Academic introductory information about Islamophobia:

- Impacts of Islamophobia on mental health of human beings:

- 20 years anniversary report since Runnymede Trust coined 'Islamophobia' in 1997:

- Data on Americans exposure of Muslims in the U.S.:

- Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles (JFS):

- Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC):

- Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles:

- Muslims Wellness Foundation (great resource for Black Muslims):

- The Family & Youth Institute Suicide Prevention:

- Mental Health 4 Muslims directory:

Episode release: Friday, May 17, 2019

Episode Four – Protective Factors

Speakers: Shereen Karam, Remy Gates, Katie Porter, and  Achmad Bastaman  (NewGround 2018-19 Fellows).

Moderated by Shereen

Our mental health is heavily influenced by personal risk factors, which increase the likelihood of developing mental health problems.  Protective factors are the biological, psychological, family and community aspects of our lives which reduce the negative impact of risk factors and development of  mental illness. In this episode, we vulnerably share our personal risk factors and the protective factors that have supported us in our lives, including spirituality and access to affordable and local mental healthcare.

 Show Notes:

- Meditation and spirituality:

 - Divine sacred text on consistent good deeds to reverse negative deeds

-  How De Beers corporation manufactured the value of diamonds in American society

 - The meaning of prostration ('sujud') in Islamic ritual prayers by Professor Khaled at the Usuli Institute

 - Pscyhodrama group theraphy information

Episode release: Friday, June 7, 2019.

Episode Five – Resources for Mental Well-Being

Guest speakers: Dr. Heather Laird,  Sally Weber,  and Alo Johnston. 

Moderated by Katie and Shereen  (NewGround 2018-19 Fellow). 

Panel discussion with practitioners in three different communities in Los Angeles. This final episode explored the fact that finding a therapist that can understand your struggle, and direct you to peace, is easier than you think.  Dr. Heather Laird-Jackson, Sally Weber and Alo Johnston, enlightened us with what it means to be a “good therapist”, and what is crucial for successful therapy. Furthermore, they addressed mental health problems when encountering Antisemitic, Islamophobic, and LGBTQ+ issues. 

Finally, panelists shared with us their top resources when it comes to finding support for mental health problems while factoring in religious, cultural, racial, sexual orientation, and gender identity differences. 


Show Notes:

-  Info on legacy of trauma:

-  Intergenerational inherited traumas:

-  Al-Fatiha Foundation:

-  Jewish people are more open to therapy and counseling:

-  Counseling via the Islamic Center of Southern California:

- Center for Muslim Mental Health & Islamic Psychology:

1-800-NASEEHA or 1-800-4MUSLIM (referral line)

- Khalil Center:

- Access California Services:

- Family Muslim Services (locations are in 20 states):

- Jewish Family Services - Los Angeles:

1-877-2775-4537 (Central Access #)

- Aleinu Orthodox Family Counseling Center

- Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals:

- Maple Counseling Center:

- Alo Johnston MA, LMFT:

- Los Angeles LGBT Center:

- Los Angeles Gender Center:

- St. John's Well Child & Family Center:

- The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children's Hospital LA:

Episode release: Friday, June 21, 2019.

Listen on podcast apps: