Mental illness affects all Canadians indirectly at some time in their life. As a matter of fact, all human beings are subject to stresses and strains of different types. In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. It affects people of all ages, regardless of education or income levels and cultural backgrounds. Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives. The causes for mental illness or depression are complex and varied.
For example, an interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors are some possible causes. Almost 49% of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never seen a doctor. Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses present a serious barrier, not only for diagnosis and treatment but also for acceptance in the community.
The economic costs of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be at least $7.9 billion in 1998. The Holy Qur’an offers several solutions to mental illnesses and depression by providing a purpose for life and an array of prayers to handle the stress from the beginning. The Creator, Allah has emphasized physical, moral and spiritual aspects of living with mental health and thus provided guidance to minimize our stresses and strains. The Qur’anic system aims to create a balance in a Muslim’s life, by putting life matters into perspective, rearranging priorities accordingly, and harmonizing all circles of relationships between the individual and internal and external environments. The following are two examples from the Holy Qur’an: Allah has described human nature:
“And when We bestow favour on man, he turns away and goes aside; and when evil touches him, he gives himself up to despair.” (17:84)
“Affliction has touched me and Thou are the most merciful.” (21:84)
The author believes that Qur’anic teachings provide a recipe to handle stress and avoid depression