Mental health is our social, emotional, and psychological well-being. Our mental health not only affects the way we think or perceive things, but it also affects our decision-making capabilities, how we handle stress and how we relate to others.
Mental health issues are prevalent in every age group, but young individuals have shown to be more vulnerable to being affected by them. According to a study, young adults of age 18-25 years had the highest prevalence (29.4%) of any mental issues than adults aged 26-40 (25.0%) and 50 above (14.1%).
Young Muslims living in the UK suffer from mental issues more than others. According to a recent report, almost half of the young British Muslims suffer from poor mental health, and nearly one-third have had suicidal thoughts. Another report issued by the UK charity Muslim Youth Helpline says that around 32% of your British Muslims have experienced suicidal thoughts at some point in their life; about 52% suffered from depression, and 63% struggled their life with anxiety. This report uncovers the dark side of society. These numbers are significant and alarming.
There is a reason why rates of depression are higher in Muslim Youth than in the general population. There has been studied evidence that Muslims are far less likely to seek help when they face any mental traumas.
Reasons of Surging Mental Health Issues in Young Muslims
Racism and Discrimination
Muslims living in the UK suffer from discrimination and racism a lot more than others. This racial discrimination can take a heavy mental toll on young minds and trigger anxiety, chronic stress, racial trauma, and depression.
Muslim society as a whole still considers this ‘mental issue subject a taboo to talk about. It’s clearly not about the religion Islam; it about our upbringings that lead our youth to drown in the sea of sadness and not ask for help. Muslim families consider having a mental health issue as a personal failure in life. Rather than seeking help in time, young Muslims more likely to bottle up their emotions and act tough.
Covid-19 has affected the whole world regardless of age, race, or religion. While the physical illness has affected many older individuals, its mental effects are more prevalent in younger people. These young minds have been suffering from isolation for many months and don’t have enough emotional support. The virtual learning stress and not being able to let their energies out added worst to the situation. Young adults with no emotional support have shown emotional, physical, and cognitive changes during the lockdown.
Lack of Therapists
In the UK, most counselors, therapists, and mental health professionals are White. Studies indicate that a non-Muslim white therapist misinterpreting a Muslim client’s experience can lead to misdiagnosis, which can be dangerous. There are not enough Muslim therapists where young Muslims can connect to more and pour their hearts out.
Misunderstanding Mental Health Issues
One of the biggest misconceptions in the Muslim community related to mental health is that it is associated with not being religious enough or non-religiousness. Many factors contribute to mental health issues, and oversimplifying these multi-factorial medical conditions decreases the chances of it being handled properly.