According to WHO, ‘Mental health’ is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
Mental health is an umbrella term which affects the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of an individual.
This pandemic has raised awareness on this topic, many of us faced some or other forms of mental health problems. There were people stuck in odd places, lacking basic needs and facilities, turned hopeless seeing the dreaded conditions, lost their jobs, losing loved ones, anxious about the future or went into a depressive state watching the news, etc. This long list is just a tip of the iceberg of various mental health conditions faced by individuals.
A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that 7.5 per cent of the Indian population suffers from some form of mental disorder. Mental illnesses constitutes one-sixth of all health-related disorders and India accounts for nearly 15% of the global mental, neurological disorders and substance abuse burden.
The major problem in our community is turning blind eye to the entire issue. Physical illness is sympathized and empathized with, but mental health is termed as ‘Phase’, ‘Evil eye’ or ‘made up thing that does not exist’.
What are some major red flags either faced by you or people around you with deteriorating mental health?
1. Anxiety to complete tasks
2. Lack of motivation
3. Loss of appetite
4. Urge to stay in bed the whole day
6. Withdrawal from meeting people
Looking for these hazards and helping people around us is our duty as a responsible member of the community.
It is not that sadness, grief or depression is the term new in Islam. We have seen messengers and prophets who were in dire situations but Allah(SWT) being the all merciful cured and granted them sabr, for instance our Prophet (saws) had a year in his life called “The year of grief” where he experienced the loss of close people as well as feelings of isolation and rejection.
Islam does not want us to be perfect, but to constantly strive to become a better version of ourselves, the negative thoughts and feelings are encouraged to be resisted by positivity and also seeking professional help in case clinical symptoms manifest.
“There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment.”(Al-Bukhari).
What can we do?
Asking help from the Healer
Allah(SWT) is Al Hakim – knows all our problems, tests and trials. Asking dua’a to Allah is a way of seeking help. The tranquility of heart and soul is under the mercy and rahma of Allah (SWT).
“Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” (Qur’an 13:28)
Islam acknowledges the importance of spirituality as an inner motivation that drives one to calmness, sanity and peace. Jihad with our own nafs is done on a daily basis. The ‘Nafs al ammarah (Commanding Soul)’ often drives us to do the wrong, putting forth negativity in our minds. Quran serves as the bridge and guidance helping us to reach ‘Nafs al-Mutma`inna (the Soul at Peace)’ the one which is at tranquil.
“And We reveal of the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy for believers though it increases the evildoers in naught save ruin.” (Al-Israa’ 17:82)
Dopamine is the chemical that is secreted when a person is happy, but nowadays the social media apps release it in the lethal form of instant gratification which we get from various posts and memes.
It causes our brain to get into a negative cycle where we crave for more and more amounts of dopamine rush in our body.
Dopamine fasting is practiced to avoid this addiction,by limiting the use of social media apps and reflecting more on things that require your attention like self-development, spiritual development, studies, etc.
With the advent of super-fast internet services, we face the problem of a plethora of media.Often times this media is disturbing, has graphic content which leaves us way to exhausted mentally and emotionally.
Anas ibn Malik reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I untie her and trust in Allah?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.” (Tirmidhi)
Islam always encourages on taking a balanced approach of both spirituality and practicality.
Often times, professional help is to be sought, and medications are also recommended in order to get a cure.
Prophet (saws) is described to be the best of listeners. He would give hope and help to those who were hopeless and helpless; he was one of the best advisors, counsellor and supporter the world has ever seen.
Counselling the ones in help is a sunnah, giving them advice to help them come out of situations of self loathe and helplessness is an act of sadaqah.
In a nutshell, mental health problems are not always linked to a state of low imaan and only making dua is not the solution; Islam has not come to eliminate completely emotions like sadness, depression but to help us understand that these are tests and this life in dunya is not made perfect for us to strive for achieving a greater goal of Jannah.
Breaking the silence, stigma and stereotypes is something as a community we ought to do to help the others; by adopting the current medical and Islamic interventions to this problem.