Karim Mitha: Mental Health and Muslim Communities

​Fr 11/11/2022




Here you can find the Power Point presentation of the lecture.

Within any culture, there are paradigmatic views of personal and communal experiences and understanding of social and natural phenomena. This includes frameworks of understanding what is viewed as “mental illness”. Whilst a sociopsychobio framework is largely the model used to address mental health and illness amongst allopathic practitioners, it is important to recognise that the lived experience and therefore the understanding of experiences by individuals is influenced by cultural frameworks. In relation to Muslims, conceptualisations of mental health and illness is often viewed and discussed in the literature in terms of “cultural formulations”, with an almost Other-ed approach in viewing traditional and spirito-cultural models of understanding mental health. That said, this approach neglects recognition of the diaspora of Muslim communities, that faith is practised across various cultural milieus and the therefore reductive nature of a monolithic approach, and that social and contextual factors can influence discourse on mental health. This talk discusses contemporary approaches and debates pertaining to “Muslim mental health” – noting common models of understanding of psychopathology, various frameworks and coping strategies, and problematises current approaches and whether they are adept/fit for Muslim communities. It also considers current movements to “decolonise” mental health from the Muslim framework, addressing intra-community debates pertaining to Muslim mental health, as well as problematising current approaches to addressing mental health needs amongst Muslim migrant communities.