The UK's first and only dedicated helpline for young Muslims has seen a dramatic rise in calls.
The number of callers ringing with distress and anxiety has grown by 57 per cent in a year says the Muslim Youth Helpline.
Operated by volunteers aged 18-28, the helpline has taken over 23,000 calls since launching from the bedroom of its founder in 2001.
The helpline is receiving more calls than can be handled from young British Muslims in distress and to help cope with this demand, Muslim Youth Helpline is working with mainstream support services to help them connect with this hard to reach group and has re-launched its website www.muslimyouth.net
as a safe space for young people to help and support each other online 24 hrs a day.
Muslim Youth Helpline spokesperson, Rukaiya Jeraj said: "For most young people, finding their place in the world is hard.
"Young British Muslims not only deal with everyday teenage angst over issues like relationships, but many also contend with a sense of social exclusion, the fear and experience of discrimination, and seeing themselves wrongly portrayed in the public arena as a dangerous presence in society. We believe this is contributing to the problems our callers are experiencing.
"Most of our callers feel uncomfortable expressing themselves to family members and are reluctant to seek support from mainstream services, such as a GP, for fear of being misunderstood.
"The Muslim Youth Helpline is often the first and last port of call for these distressed young people. We have many regular callers who feel they don’t have anywhere else to turn."
Muslim Youth Helpline is now working with mainstream services to help them understand the needs and provide support to young British Muslims.
Said Rukaiya: "For example, we’ve been asked to provide training resources for teachers and youth workers to give them the confidence to talk about contentious issues, such as domestic violence, as many are afraid to even discuss these important issues for fear of being insensitive and offensive.
"We help give them the knowledge and understanding of the cultural differences between different faiths to tackle these issues in a positive way.”
Community Cohesion minister, Sadiq Khan a guest at the re-launch of the website said: "The Muslim Youth Helpline is proving invaluable for many young Muslims in the UK needing confidential support from other young people with direct experience and understanding of issues around faith, culture and identity.
"This is a free service staffed by young volunteers, drawn from our diverse Muslim communities who give up their spare-time to offer structured support to others in their community.
"No young person should suffer in silence and this is why we are providing increased financial support to the Muslim Youth Helpline to expand their reach across the country to develop wider peer-support networks and encourage more young British Muslims in need of help to access specialist and mainstream services."
Young people can contact Muslim Youth Helpline on 0808 808 2008.