Every year, World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October. The date seeks to raise awareness surrounding mental health and mobilise efforts to help those affected by mental health issues.
Over the past few years, you have probably noticed a lot of high profile campaigns in the media related to mental health. Many of them have worked to combat the stigma attached to mental illness by encouraging people to talk about their issues.
Talking, without a doubt, can often serve as the first step to tackling problems related to mental health, and the increased cultural dialogue has certainly done a lot to get people to open up about things that a decade ago may have been viewed with shame or derision.
Even so, mental health affects different people in many (read: an immeasurable number of) different ways. What helps one person might not help the next. Where talking to family may work for someone, another might not be ready to open up with those closest to them.
That’s why World Mental Health Day 2018 is as important as any of the previous years. We are probably living in an era when more people than ever before are willing to discuss mental health, be it with their friends, on social media posts or in ad campaigns. But for all this visibility, there are still many others who are uncertain about what steps to take next. So on this day, amid all the conversations and opening up, we must not forget about those who can’t – for whatever reason.
Oftentimes, we may struggle to reconcile our mental health with our faith. Last year, we wrote about a form of therapy that encourages Muslims to embrace religion as a route to recovery. The story quoted a woman, Samia, who explained why Muslims are often wary of talking about conditions like depression: “This stigma does involve the idea that maybe if you need treatment, there might be something wrong with your faith identity in the first place.”
Through the therapy, Samia learned about passages from the Qu’ran that show how depression can affect anyone no matter how strong their faith.
More recently, we discovered the charity Inspirited Minds, who focus on helping Muslims with mental health problems. The group uses creativity as a form of therapy, hosting workshops that encourage people through arts and crafts, storytelling and performance. It’s an excellent cause that allows people to try new things in a safe, supportive environment.
Ultimately, how you deal with mental health is down to you. No one should ever feel pressured to follow a certain path because a friend / beauty vlogger / footballer revealed how it helped them; just as no one should feel ashamed to talk about mental illness because of their background, religion or circumstances.
If you’re worried about your mental health these charities will offer support and advice:
Mind UK on 0300 123 3393
The Mix (for people under 25) on 0808 808 4994