There are beautiful things that you can only see in the dark.
Discussions about mental health in religious communities can feel awkward, but they are essential and overdue. Spirituality can be a powerful force against depression and suicide, as can the cultural cohesion, familial bonds, and social support available in houses of worship. Scroll through the slides for insights and lessons learned.
Tragedies can serve as a wakeup call and impetus to act. This is a chance to address the prevalence and magnitude of depression in the Muslim community, especially in teenagers. Mental health professionals and religious leaders need to work together to find solutions.
We are in no position to pass judgment. In one form or another, everyone who died was a victim. This is not to justify homicide or suicide but to understand their roots in depression and trauma.
Many parents do not know how to talk to their children about mental health. There is a lot of silence in Muslim households about mental health issues, but this is not a Muslim-only phenomenon. Youth depression and suicide are widespread, an invisible global pandemic. Bottling up emotions should not be the norm; Muslim homes and houses of worship of all kinds should be refuges, where individuals of every age can share their feelings.
When afflicted with cancer, broken bones, or bleeding wounds, patients are rushed to the emergency room. Emotional injuries should not be treated any differently. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals could reach out to religious communities and inform them about the nature and dangers of mental illnesses, and how to pursue treatment.
Mend broken hearts, show up for others, tell those around you that “maybe I do not understand your pain, but teach me, I am here for you.” A simple act of kindness like a smile or eye contact might brighten someone’s day—or even save their life.
Those with mental illnesses should not be judged as having weak faith or a poor relationship with God. The mental health box is different than the spiritual one, and both boxes need to be filled. Prayers are wonderful, but they are one tool among many.
The Family and Youth Institute: https://www.thefyi.org/
Yaqeen Institute: https://yaqeeninstitute.org/
Khalil Center: https://khalilcenter.com/
Stones to Bridges: https://www.stonestobridges.org/
Naseeha Hotline: https://naseeha.org/
Calls for comfort: https://www.callsforcomfort.com/
Project Untangled: https://projectuntangled.org/