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Somali Graduate opens substance abuse treatment centre in Minnesota targeting Somalis in diaspora


SomaNet News Archive

(By Bonny Apunyu)

A recent University of Minnesota graduate and a social worker, Mr. Yussuf Shafie has opened a center for treatment for substance abuse targeting Minnesotans of East African descent, Star Tribune reported.

According to reports, the facility called Alliance Wellness Center in Bloomington, will deal with substance abuse and the profound stigma of mental illness in the Somali community. “I know people in my community need these services,” Shafie reportedly said adding that “I want to empower them to seek help.”

Star Tribune says Mr. Shafie is wrapping up a job as a Minneapolis school social worker to open the new center, which will focus on serving East and West African refugees. He says too many are reluctant to seek professional help for mental illness. Shafie hopes that as a Somali and practicing Muslim leading a diverse team of six professionals, he can readily build trust with clients.

David Schuchman, who facilitates a network of mental health providers serving African patients, says a few local facilities such as South East Homes in Minneapolis specialize in working with that population. “I think there’s a need,” he said, “and the need will grow as the East African community becomes more acculturated and Americanized.”