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

65 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 😉

  7. Edwin Salter says:

    I come back to this because I don’t feel it is our finest effort. The title rather misguides. Tolerating someone’s faith as part of their context is not the same as preaching it. There is a consultation running re pharmacists to shift them towards patient beliefs not their own (e.g. re contraception) – NSS supports.
    We have to recognise that in recorded history most people have been religious – and caring/creative/civilised/happy at the same time – they set our norms.
    Therapists will of course tackle clearly damaging beliefs but it isn’t their job to convert the ordinarily religious. I rather think that’s ours.

  8. John says:

    Actually, the pharmacy body has now changed its advice to its members to say that they cannot object to dispensing any legally valid prescriptions.
    I do think the NSS, BHA and many individuals contributed towards this outcome, which I flagged up several years ago at a Conway Hall meeting.

  9. John says:

    Jean Meyer still does not get it.
    Her non-existent entities do not exist.
    That’s all we need to know.
    Her beliefs are utterly irrelevant to the growing majority of world opinion.
    Truly religious people – in my opinion – are, by definition, clinically insane.
    So too is Jean Meyer with her utterly fixed views.
    She has reached her natural point of de-evolution.

  10. Jean Meyer says:

    Dear John
    I am sorry to have to inform you that you have not been successful in your application to convince the world at large about atheism. Feedback on your performance indicates that you are expected to argue your case with reason and logic rather than resorting to personal insults and tautology.
    I am not that sorry that you have been unsuccessful in this occasion but have no doubt that you will keep trying in future, hopefully with a bit more effort.
    Yours sincerely,
    J Meyer
    PS Don’t call us we’ll call you

  11. Daz says:

    “Feedback on your performance indicates that you are expected to argue your case with reason and logic rather than resorting to personal insults and tautology.”

    Back at ya.

  12. John says:

    Dear Ms. Meyer ,
    As a former College Lecturer and Examiner, I know which students do – and do not – make the grade, and you have failed utterly to make it.
    You have signally failed to address the question set; you have quoted sources which are questionable, if not downright dubious; and you have shown no real signs of having learned anything remotely intelligible.
    The only grade you can be awarded is an F for Failure.
    As for Daz’s Psalm 14-1, part of which reads ‘They are corrupt; they do vile deeds. There is no one who does good.’, the only people I know fitting that description are the legion of clerical child abusers who are reported on this site month after month after month.
    Look at all the reports concerning the antics of Cardinal Pell, dating back – at least – to 2010 on this web site, as well as the more recent royal commission report in Australia, which led even a senior church spokesman to say ‘These numbers are shocking. They are tragic and they are indefensible.’
    Look at reports concerning Georg Ratzinger, e.g.
    See the report concerning the Catholic abuse movie which won a Best Picture Oscar award at
    The effect of these and many other similar cases is that increasing numbers of people across Europe, Australasia and North America are leaving organised religion as they realise that the people in positions of power in those organisations are rotten to the core.
    You think you are being smart when you side with the child abusers, do you? You simply confirm that you too are verging on being clinically insane, just like them.
    I will not expect either of you to improve with age.
    If anything, you will no doubt go on to prove your essential inhumanity in other ways, which is why you are incapable of becoming humanists.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Edwin Salter:

    Therapists will of course tackle clearly damaging beliefs but it isn’t their job to convert the ordinarily religious.

    I should bloody well hope not. That isn’t their job. But neither is it their job, as Mrs Mir advocates, to “reintroduce” people to religion, or to use religious texts like the Bible or the Koran as part of their therapy, especially when working for the NHS. That is the crux of the matter.

  14. Daz says:

    John, I think you mistook my meaning. I was pointing out to Jean Meyer that the act of “resorting to personal insults” which she chastises us for is a tactic aimed at non-believers which goes right back to the Bible. Unless she’s willing to disavow her holy scripture, she’s engaging in rank hypocrisy.

    That said…

    “You think you are being smart when you side with the child abusers, do you? “

    Unless you can quote Jean Meyer actually condoning child abuse, please could you desist from throwing the accusation around. Not only because it was you, not I nor Jean Meyer who made the link between the psalm and the abusers which you then go on to claim means we are siding with them, which any honest debater would know damn well is a bullshit tactic, but because, frankly, and speaking as a survivor of childhood abuse myself, the use of such accusations—the use of the real suffering by real victims—as little more than providers of opportunities for cheap-shot insinuations of guilt-by-vague-association is extremely insulting to the victims and just as extremely unfair on those you so accuse. There are many, many religious people in this world and the vast majority of them despise child-abusers as much as you and I do. If you actually care about the victims, you should understand that they do not exist merely for you to score anti-theist points in arguments. Save your ire for those who actually commit or enable the crimes.

  15. John says:

    Dear Daz,
    I am sorry if I offended you. That was not my intention.
    I think we both fell prey to the deliberate enigma that is religion.
    The whole point of their pronouncements is that they can be read in a number of ways – all very convenient for the religionists and confusing for others.
    It is just that the wording of the psalm reminded me much more of the vile excesses that religion breeds; in particular, power granted to unscrupulous clerics leaves young people intensely vulnerable to perverts in dresses.
    If I have offended you, please accept my sincere apology.