Any act that is affecting someone’s daily routine is a serious issue and needs to be dealt with urgently
Mental health problems are not as visible as physical ailments, but they need treatment nevertheless. We can, by all means, rely on religion, but we should not ignore medical treatment. Mental disorders occur because of chemical changes in the brain. Thus, there is a dire need to create awareness among the masses regarding mental health issues and we need to take care of our mental well-being as much as our physical health.
There are several Urdu magazines in which certain sections, called “Roohani Ilaj”, are allocated for advice on such matters, with scholars suggesting the recitation of Quranic verses in case of mental health problems, which is fine.
A couple of days ago, I came across this section in a magazine in which a girl tells the scholar about her 22-year-old sister, who has developed some strange habits such as washing her hands repeatedly. The scholar advised her to read different verses and offer prayers five times a day, but did not suggest that she seek help from a psychiatrist or a doctor.
Here we need to understand that such habits do not develop on their own and there will be reasons behind them. The illness the person is possibly suffering from is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I am not an expert on mental health issues, of course, but I have some knowledge of the subject and all I am trying to convey here is that scholars need to educate themselves about the subject since they deal with such queries. If they do not update their knowledge, they cannot do justice to the roles assigned to them.
Any act that is affecting someone’s daily routine is a serious issue and needs to be dealt with urgently. Our scholars and other professionals who advise people on such serious issues should educate themselves about mental health problems since these are growing rapidly due to a number of social and economic issues. Hundreds of people, including women and teenagers, end their lives every year because they are suffering from clinical depression.
People need to realise that mental illness is an illness like any other. We all need to know how to recognise mental health problems in a person and how to help them out. Knowledge is a must, not only for the spiritual healer but also for the person who is in pain. Today, as World Mental Health Day is observed around the world, let’s promise ourselves that we will make an effort to educate ourselves about psychological problems since anyone, at any age, can suffer from a mental health problem.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.