How this Sydney alcohol and drug rehab centre is moving beyond shame

When somebody becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol (or both) then rehabilitation clinics provide a lifeline to battle the addiction. An estimated 1 in 20 Australians, 5% of the population, have a problem with substance dependency and 16% of people have used illicit substances recently.

While Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Counsellors are working hard to help people avoid or recover from substance abuse there are still stigmas affecting how, where, and when people seek care.

For people whose faith community disparages any use of alcohol or drugs, it can feel especially shameful to seek help from AOD Counselling. That’s where Hayat House, located in the western Sydney suburb of Bankstown, is actively changing the conversation around addiction for the Muslim community.

Rehab services without shame

Alcohol and drug use are forbidden for followers of the Muslim faith. On top of that, many rehab services such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are rooted in Christian principles. So, when a Muslim person from Sydney seeks help for alcohol and/or drug addiction, there are few places to turn and often added feelings of shame.

Hayat House is working to provide community-based substance abuse assessments and a comprehensive range of Counselling services to help Muslim (and non-Muslim) people find their feet.

Every community is affected by alcohol and drug addiction. With guiding principles of respect, diversity, collaboration and integrity, Hayat House is a positive example of a community-based service addressing a serious mental health problem rather than feeding a culture of shame.

What the Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselling industry can learn from Hayat House

AOD Counsellors are empathetic, respectful, and non-judgemental. Addiction is a mental illness often stemming from deep in an individual’s psyche under layers of trauma, repression or lived experience.

·         Self-reported psychological distress is increasing among recent drug users

·         36% of people seeking support in 2018-19 were addicted to alcohol, making it the leading drug of concern

·         Pharmaceutical (prescription) drug abuse is rising sharply in Australia

By giving people a safe place to turn when they need help, Hayat House and similar organisations are providing vital services to vulnerable people.

State and Local Governments, as well as not-for-profits, private Counselling firms, and independent AOD Counsellors are highly respected for the work they do. However, sometimes a niche service like Hayat House is required where affected individuals feel too shameful to seek help, or simply don’t know where to turn.

Interested in becoming an AOD Counsellor to support your community? Explore our nationally recognised courses here, including fully online courses you can start during COVID.

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