Anxiety, Depression, and Bipolar Disorder- what do they all have in common? They are all mental illnesses. Mental illness continues to rise in the United States each year; with the number of suicide rates going up, the number of people becoming addicted to drugs/alcohol, and the increase of mass shootings. It's no doubt that mental illness is a serious problem that needs to be taken care of.
Mental illness can affect anyone regardless of race, religion, and profession. And the cause of this can vary. Some mental illnesses can run in the family or can be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, while others can be caused by environmental factors, such as growing up in an abusive home or getting bullied in school.
Mental illness not only affects Non-Muslims, but it also affects Muslims as well. It is difficult to say the rates for how many are affected; the reason being mental illness is still considered taboo. Often times those who have a mental illness, many do not want to talk about for fear of being judged by people in the community, therefore these things tend to be swept under the rug. Along with that others do not have the knowledge as to what exactly is mental illness.
Despite mental illness being considered taboo, various masjids across America are starting to take action and hold mental health panels in the masjid. Even many Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Therapists in the Muslim community have started holding talks discussing mental illness, and how to seek help for those who are affected.
While masjids are starting to take action, there is still more work that needs to be done. Many people still consider mental health to be taboo, along with that there is still a social stigma where people are afraid to open about mental health issues for fear that their family honor will be destroyed, and they will not be accepted by family and friends.
It is up to Muslim leaders, chaplains, Imams, and Sheikhs to also start getting involved and start talking about mental health issues in our community. The more we get people in our community involved, the easier it is to open up about mental illness in the Muslim community.