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Religion in Mental Health: Soul Under Pressure


In a report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine in 2000, there was a call to improve guidelines for the treatment and detection of depression and to ascertain the characteristics of a physician that might contribute to the under-detection of depression in minorities (Reuters Health p.1).

This is probably due to the stereotype of what constitutes the symptoms of depression. Undetected, it can vent itself in the form of aggression or withdrawal.

Mental Health & Spirituality Hand-In-Hand

Islam encourages patience, prayer and turning to Allah (SWT) in times of need and for guidance. Even though, when one is struggling to survive in society and when discerning what is important isn’t easy, one can easily lose one’s way.

In fact, this happens even in some Islamic countries undergoing fast urbanization whereby the state’s desire to catch up with the rest of the world has had a marked effect.

These emotional stresses communicate themselves through somatic or physical complaints. Similarly, “That is because they believe, then disbelieve, so a seal is set upon their hearts so that they don’t understand”. (Surat Al Munafiqun 63:3).

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It’s only recently when people started recognizing that ‘person-centered’ medicine has a major role of psychosocial factors in the patients’ well being and illness. In fact, studies fail to address the question of why physicians may be less religious and why they appear to resist discussing religion in the clinic (Chibnall p.1).

Over the last 30 years, hundreds of services claim to use psychosocial rehabilitation, however, there is unfortunately great confusion as to what this means and entails (SDG p.2). Additionally, Mental Health Social Worker Abul Hussein argues that religion or spirituality can act as a part of the holistic healing process – the center of balance – that gives calmness and peace so vital to recovery (Hussein p.4).


Therefore, the awareness of what resources we have at our disposal when applied creatively can achieve a lot.

It isn’t only for us to develop it further, but for modern mental health to realize that the process of returning to a state of balance can best be addressed by recognizing and assimilating the inner wealth already in possession of the patient spiritually, psychologically and culturally.

Only then will modern mental health be equipped with the resources it needs to facilitate its original objective.


  • Akbar, Arifa. “Moral Question Perplexing Young Muslims: Who are the Goodies and Who are the Baddies?” The Independent. # 4,685.10/23/01.
  • Chibnall. John, T & Brooks. Christy, A. “Religion in the Clinic. The Role of Physician Beliefs” Southern Medical Association. 94:4(2001) 374-379. Online 1-10. Psychiatry. Medscape. 06/26/01.
  • Duckworth, Lorna. “One in Five Children has a Behavioral or Mental Problem”. 03/13/02. 2. World: Science. 03/20/02.
  • Hussein. Abul. “The Issue of Religiosity in Mental Health: Are We Forgetting the Missing Link?” Crescent Life. 1-6. 06/26/01.
  • Linklater, Magnus. “A Tale of Ordinary Madness”. 02/25/01. 9. Society. Guardian Unlimited. 04/26/01.
  • Reuters Health “Doctors May Miss Depression in Minorities, Men”. Reuters Health. 06/12/01. 1-2. News. 03/11/01.
  • Songar, Ayhan. “Socio-Psychiatric Institutions in Old Turks under Islamic Tradition”. 5. Home: Islamic Psychology. 06/17/02.
  • Southern Development Group “Int’l Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation. Publication Information”. Southern Development Group. 1-3. 06/25/01.

This article is from our archive, originally published on an earlier date, and now republished  for its importance.

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