A recent poll conducted by the American Psychiatric
Association found that more than one-third of Americans think the coronavirus
crisis is seriously affecting their psychological health.
If you are feeling anxious, depressed, and angry, it’s understandable, as reported coronavirus cases have surpassed the terrifying mark of infecting 1 million people worldwide.
The United States has the largest number of infected
individuals and Muslims around the country are reporting higher incidences of
sleeplessness nights, anxiety, and confusion, as the death toll steadily rises
“I haven’t been able to sleep for weeks. I am an
entrepreneur and am currently out of work since the massive shutdown amid the
pandemic. I am having trouble assisting my children with their digital
learning, as I am desperately trying to find work to stabilize my family,”
Aisha Turner, single mom of three, told AboutIslam.net.
Anxiety and stress are global crises, as mental health helplines have reported an exponential increase in phone calls to their crisis line.
Muslims are struggling to identify spiritual remedies to
adjust their mind frame while easing their anxiety around the growing pandemic.
Local imams and experienced scholars are working tirelessly to provide
resources, support, and services virtually to their community to keep their
hope and spirits high.
“I have benefitted from many online programs but more importantly I spend a lot of my time in zikr (remembrance). My favorite zikr is to whisper ya salaamu to myself repeatedly until I can sense the calmness in my own heart,” Saudia Shabazz shared with aboutislam.net.
Let’s address the four major problems that are impacting the
mental health of the Muslim community and steps to address those issues.
Our lives have shifted dramatically during the past few
weeks and many of us may not recognize the feelings of increased heart rate,
muscle tension, and gastrointestinal distress as anxiety.
There are many tips to reduce anxiety and an individual
should start with exploring self-management strategies like mindfulness, yoga,
prayer/meditation, art, exercise, and a healthy diet. Additionally, Muslims
should be encouraged to focus on gratitude and the many positive blessings they
Anxiety can lead to insomnia and sleep-related problems. The fear of the unknown can result in difficulty falling asleep, awakening in the middle of the night, and having a difficult time falling back asleep.
People are encouraged to reduce nightly screen time and
caffeine and increase their daily intake of sunlight, healthy meals, and
exercise. In addition to these practical tips, Muslim are encouraged to say the
recommended duaa for sleeping, “In Your name my Lord, I lie down and in Your
name I rise, so if You should take my soul then have mercy upon it, and if You
should return my soul then protect it in the manner You do so with Your
righteous servants.” Making duaa for a peaceful sleep is highly effective in
combating sleeplessness and
Although stress and depression are expected during a global pandemic, mental health experts are deeply concerned about individuals who may already have a predisposition to depression. The unprecedented threat of COVID-19 can exacerbate the symptoms of depression and potentially lead to a mental health crisis and suicidal thoughts.
Depression is recognized as a medical illness and must be
treated medically, however, there are a few practical tips to help offset some
of the symptoms of depression. Journaling, creating a wellness toolbox, and
positive affirmations have all been linked to supporting the symptoms of
Muslims are encouraged to increase their reliance on Allah SWT, daily readings of the Quran, and supplications to Allah during times of depression and sadness.