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Religion may cure Muslims with mental health issues

Religion may cure Muslims with mental health issues

That’s the view of Dr Ghazala Mir, above, of Leeds University’s Institute of Health Sciences.

She believes that therapists who have traditionally shied away from involving religion – and often regard it as the cause of mental illnesses – are wrong.

According to the BBC, Mir said:

We know that in Muslim populations people can get quicker results from faith-sensitive therapies that have been tested elsewhere in the world. They tend to use religion as a coping resource more than people in other religious groups.

Mir has helped to create a new treatment, based on an existing form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) called behavioural activation. Following a successful pilot involving 20 patients, it is being provided by the National Health Service via a mental health charity in Leeds.

Patients on the course are asked if faith was part of their life when they were well.

Those who stopped their religious practice because of depression are re-introduced slowly using a self-help booklet, which highlights passages from the Koran that illustrate “even people with strong faith” can become depressed and that it does not mean God is displeased.

Mir claims that Muslims are under-referred for mental health treatment.

Not only is there under-referral but the outcomes for people who do actually get referred are not as good as the general population.

NHS data assessing people seeking psychological help found depression can be more chronic among British Muslims, who tend to have lower rates of improvement.

The NHS has a statutory duty to provide “culturally appropriate” care for its patients, but Mir claims it often struggles to do so.

One patient, referred to as Samia, said her treatment with a traditional therapist “felt like half a journey”, but that when she started to use the new booklet her life began to change.

There are some teachings in here that help me reflect that the Koran actually acknowledges there is depression, there is grief, there is hardship upon you. God is actually giving me those tools. So it really strengthened my Iman, which is my faith.

I’m happy that I can live my life with my religion and that I’ve got the support of teachings from the Koran.

Richard Garland runs the team at the Touchstone Mental Health Charity which is providing the treatment to some of its Muslim clients.

He says several therapists left the initial trial of the treatment for a number of reasons.

Some were worried about imposing religion on clients, others said they did not know enough about Islam, were resistant to the idea of using religion in therapy at all, or felt religion was not a helpful framework for treating depression.

However, Garland claims this type of religiously-centred treatment can help.

What has been produced here is a type of therapy that takes full account of people’s faith, this particular faith, and links it to people’s value framework. So it’s a very practical application of someone’s belief system.

The people behind the treatment say they hope it can be rolled out across the country and be extended to other faith groups.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

56 responses to “Religion may cure Muslims with mental health issues”

  1. Jean Meyer says:

    Oh dear the tone has deteriorated again, what a shame and just when I thought there was some actual thinking going on. This is a public site so I’m not a guest in your house – it might be annoying that you are being asked to justify your views in a civil manner but that’s what people are encouraged to do in a civilised society. There is clearly a lot of emotion clouding the way you think about religion. Ps Humans also choose to inflict punishment for behaviour that threatens society – people are PUT into prison by other people.

  2. John says:

    Poor Jean Meyer is conflating completely different things again.
    She fails completely to grasp that her non-existent “god” is so stupid as to not know that forbidding Adam and Eve from consuming the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil – according to her mythical books – would not end up in them doing precisely that.
    How stupid could “he” have been?
    Most parents could have told him or Jean Meyer what would probably happen.
    Again her – as she defines “him” – “god” is so allegedly all-knowing that when they hide from him he is unable to see them.
    Her non-existent allegedly all-knowing “god” is equally stupid when it came to knowing that a talking snake [has anyone ever seen one of those?] would persuade Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. You couldn’t make such stupidity up!
    The whole story is clearly irrational nonsense but she is so deluded as to be incapable of understanding that.
    She simultaneously believes that her non-existent “god” created only Adam and Eve yet after Cain slew Abel he was forced to go the the Land of Nod to take himself a wife. Where did she come from? Who were her parents, grandparents, great-grand parents, etc.?
    Who “made” them?
    So much for allegedly robust objective knowledge, eh?
    Go on, Jean, keep on keeping us all amused here.
    It is a quiet day, even if it is your so-called “day of rest”.

  3. Daz says:

    “it might be annoying that you are being asked to justify your views in a civil manner but that’s what people are encouraged to do in a civilised society.”

    Y’know, I’ve heard/read people who, in the most “civil” terms, claimed that black people, LGBT people, women, or almost any other sub-set of the human race you could name, are not worthy of equal treatment, are sub-human, or should be killed. And here you are getting upset over some strongly-worded invective. Priorities, Jean—you is doing them wrong.

    “There is clearly a lot of emotion clouding the way you think about religion.”

    For some here, quite probably there is. Speaking for myself, swearing is simply a part of my everyday language, as it is for most adults, and while it may imply a little emphasis here and there, it certainly should not be taken to necessarily imply strong emotion on my part. Frankly, I find you vaguely amusing, if anything. But we digress…

    “Ps Humans also choose to inflict punishment for behaviour that threatens society – people are PUT into prison by other people.”

    Yep they are. And while I can’t be bothered, here, to get into the “punishment/rehabilitation” argument, you’ll note that such sentences are meted out to those who harm society by their actions. Burglary, for instance, causes a demonstrable harm. But disbelief does not cause harm, unless you want to stipulate that the creator of the entire freakin’ universe has a skin as thin as Donald Trump’s .

    Let’s make a law against playing hopscotch. We can’t demonstrate any harm done by playing it, but we will still punish people who do so.

    Who are the morally bad guys in this scenario; people who break that law, or us, who made and enforce it?

  4. barriejohn says:

    Christ alive, it’s Mary fucking Whitehouse!

    Daz: Only power-crazed demagogues say: “Believe this or you die”. God goes one further: “Believe this or I’ll punish you for all eternity”. Anyone who claims to have never seen this in the Bible is either mad or a downright liar.

  5. Daz says:

    Barriejohn, I’ve always maintained that if the god described in the Bible were to exist, it would be an egotistical, power-crazed monster. The fun* part is in observing the twisted logic of those who try to defend it.

    *Yeah, I know, my sense of humour is as twisted as their logic. Ho-hum.

  6. Jean Meyer says:

    Guys, guys you’ve got me all wrong! I’m not remotely upset, not a Christian and unbelievably busy today. Much as I’m enjoying deconstructing your flawed arguments I think we can all agree we probably are on different planets. In summary, you think it’s harmful to believe in God, who you think of as a vindictive old man in the sky. I believe people with depression who think God is Truth, Justice and Peace can be helped through their religion. Happy to call it a day – maybe we’ll see eye to eye in another life 😉

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