OPINION: American Muslims and Psychological Well being

by Jainaba Jawara and Maryam Shabar


We all know that well being disparities pose an imminent menace to the standard of life and well-being of minority teams. But the preferred consideration to minority well being disparities, each within the medical literature and within the public, focuses on racial and ethnic disparities. Whereas these inequalities are actual and rightly deserve consideration, different demographic gaps, comparable to these amongst Muslim People, are additionally vital.

A part of what makes the Muslim inhabitants so lovely is its immense range; no racial or ethnic group represents greater than 30% of the overall American Muslim population. Moreover, thousands and thousands of Muslims are additionally racial or ethnic minorities and/or immigrants. This creates a threat of intersectional stigma – which may hurt particular person psychological well being.

As authors, we care about this matter as a result of our background as Muslim People means we can not stay silent concerning the challenges going through our neighborhood. Washington State is dwelling to a steadily rising Muslim inhabitants, with a present inhabitants of over 100,000 Muslimsthe vast majority of them residing in King County.

Rising up within the larger Seattle space, we witnessed incidents of harassment and discrimination in opposition to Muslims. Muslims of all ages and backgrounds face this discrimination. In school, Muslim kids are sometimes bullied and harassment; in public, there have been numerous incidents together with girls’s hijab being eliminated and wherein Muslims have been known as derogatory names and subjected to hate crimes.

Whether or not this occurs to you and even your fellow Muslims has a huge effect on one’s sense of security, belonging, confidence in carrying Islamic apparel (just like the hijab) and basic expression of 1’s freedom of faith. .

Muslim People are at excessive threat for suicide and are as much as twice as more likely to have tried suicide than different spiritual teams. Based on NPRtwo essential components contribute to the psychological well being disaster of Muslims in the US: spiritual discrimination (Islamophobia) and neighborhood stigma.

You will need to observe that sadly, Data on Muslim psychological well being is uncommon. Nevertheless, research that do exist point out that Muslims additionally face psychological well being points along with the next threat of suicide, together with adjustment issues, anxiousness issues, and post-traumatic stress dysfunction. Different psychological well being issues comparable to obsessive-compulsive issues, temper issues and schizophrenia are additionally reported on this data as more common amongst Muslim populations.

Following the tragedies of September 11, American acceptance of Muslim Americans steadily decreased. Rhetoric fueling Islamophobia, comparable to anti-Muslim campaigns by politicians, contributes to unfavorable views in direction of Muslims. The Pew Analysis Middle discovered that in 2005, 41% of People held favorable views towards Muslims. However in 2010, this Number dropped to 30%.

Islamophobia in the US is a key driver of the psychological well being disparities that American Muslims face. It’s psychologically taxing for anybody to really feel hated and discriminated in opposition to by a society wherein they want to stay in peace.

Islamophobia continues to be a day by day actuality for Muslims all over the world. As Muslims in the US, we now have felt devalued in society, and Islamophobia has formed our Muslim id. At work, in instructional establishments, on the streets and in our locations of worship, we’re fixed targets and face the potential for violence. We observe or expertise violence personally or by means of social media. It makes us really feel uncomfortable in our neighborhoods and isolates us from society.

As a result of psychological well being stigma, Muslims are much less more likely to search assist and due to this fact might not obtain the medical remedy they want. We have to popularize Muslim psychological well being assets and destigmatize psychological well being in our society. To start with, we as Muslims should be educated on the complete teachings of Islam, together with what to do if somebody is affected by psychological sickness. Though Islam locations a excessive worth on psychological well being and well-being, Islamic psychology has an strategy to psychological well being that’s distinct from Western rules. Due to this fact, it’s crucial to teach ourselves and psychological well being professionals concerning the rules of Islamic psychology.

Moreover, to bridge the hole between non-Muslim well being professionals and Muslim sufferers, psychological well being professionals should be extra educated about Islam so as to strategy this neighborhood with sensitivity. Islamic psychology, often known as nafs science, is an Islamic philosophical examine of the psyche or thoughts that encompasses psychology, neuroscience, philosophy of thoughts, and psychiatry. Though the time period nafs is expounded to the soul, psyche, coronary heart or spirit, it’s troublesome to translate right into a single assertion because of the multidimensional use of the phrases within the Arabic language. Muslim People could also be extra keen and inspired to hunt psychological well being companies if trade professionals are educated about Islamic psychology.

As authors, we’re not specialists in Islamic psychology, nor psychiatrists, however we need to tackle psychological well being points in our neighborhood. We can not stress sufficient the pressing want for added clinics and assets tailor-made to the psychological well being problems with American Muslim communities. Muslim American physicians should be included within the improvement and revision of psychological well being instruments in order that they’re extra accessible and conscious of Muslim populations. These instruments ought to then be accessible to non-Muslim practitioners.

Society’s judgments most frequently stem from a lack of information. The Institute for Muslim Psychological Well being is a useful resource to be taught extra. Accepting {that a} psychological well being analysis is nothing to be ashamed of, getting remedy, and serving to others perceive how psychological well being consciousness may enhance their lives and the lives of their family members is without doubt one of the most impactful issues that you are able to do.


The South Seattle Emerald is dedicated to sustaining area for a wide range of viewpoints inside our neighborhood, with the understanding that differing viewpoints don’t negate mutual respect amongst neighborhood members.

The opinions, beliefs and views expressed by contributors on this web site don’t essentially replicate the opinions, beliefs and views of Emerald or the official insurance policies of Emerald.


Jainaba Jawara (first yr) and Maryam Shabar (incoming freshman) are college students on the College of Washington. As Muslim People, we write with the objective of elevating consciousness, decreasing stigma, and discussing related matters associated to psychological well being disparities inside Muslim American communities.

📸 Featured Picture: Picture by Zurijeta/Shutterstock.com

Earlier than you progress on to the following story …
Please think about that the article you simply learn was made potential by the beneficiant monetary help of donors and sponsors. The Emerald is a BIPOC-led nonprofit information outlet with the mission of providing a wider lens of our area’s most numerous, least prosperous, and woefully under-reported communities. Please think about making a one-time present or, higher but, becoming a member of our Rainmaker Household by turning into a month-to-month donor. Your help will assist present truthful pay for our journalists and allow them to proceed writing the vital tales that supply related information, data, and evaluation. Support the Emerald!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.