Mental health in the Muslim community in Australia is seen as a taboo topic that is rarely ever spoken about and that needs to change.
“You wont be depressed if you become closer to god and start reading the Quran”.
A phrase we hear whenever a person of Muslim faith is experiencing mental challenges. While having faith in god is no doubt important, a person that is struggling mentally needs more than just faith to overcome their issues.
They also need to speak out to those that can help such as professionals like psychologists and councillors.
Often when a Muslim is struggling with their mental health, the Muslim community is quick to associate that person with a weakened iman or far from faith .
In Muslim communties especially within ethnic groups, mental health is a topic that is seen as a forbidden subject which parents do not speak what mental health is and how to take care of yourself along with your faith.
There is a misconception that if you are a pious and an individual who follows their religious duties, you should not run into these issues.
Often Muslims who experience these issues do not know how to express how they are feeling.
Faith is spiritual, and mental along with the actual commands from God like praying five times a day, however in life we encounter psychological issues that transpire from our daily experiences that at times are not resolved by just having faith and fulfilling your daily religious duties.
Just like a car you can maintain it by changing its oil, filling its fluids, but if the car’s computer has an issue it can give you problems therefore you need to take it to a mechanic.
The Muslim community often does not acknowledge that mental illness exists as well as the importance of maintaining good mental wellbeing. This usually comes from cultural correlation of if you are sick you visit a doctor.
But what if the illness is not something you can see like someone coughing or a broken arm, what if it’s something the person who experiences it only gets to feel it, this can’t be voided as this person is crazy or their faith is low therefore they are experiencing these issues.
Why is that we only seek professional assistance when it is physical but its disregarded when the challenge is mental.
Normalising conversations around mental wellbeing will allow Muslims that are experiencing psychological struggles to reach out for help without feeling a sense of shame or embarrassment.