Today is World Mental Health Day, a day that is marked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) every 10th October. The day is one in which a clear emphasis is made on the significance of mental health and wellbeing, and the recommendation that mental and physical health must be treated as being equally important, individually and to one another. This year’s World Mental Health Day theme is to “make mental health and well-being for all a global priority”. 
Muslims may experience psychological difficulties just as other communities do; it is a part of life. Occasionally, we may be unable to speak about or explore these experiences due to a sense of shame or feeling as though these things are ‘just in our head’. However, ironically, that is precisely what might be the case.
Tackling difficulties with trauma, anxiety, worry, stress, or depression is something that all Muslims must be able to do – be it on an individual level or through seeking the right external support.
Trust in Allah and His Messenger ﷺ
This may seem obvious, but Allah does not burden a soul with more than it can handle. At the same time, the tests that we face in life are often designed to strengthen our resolve and to bring us closer to Him. There is always Divine wisdom behind the difficulties we face.
“Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford.” 
Every single person deals with adversities differently. After all, in a sense we are all uniquely pieced together out of different parts of a jigsaw puzzle – the only One who knows everything about us and what we feel, when we feel it, and the only One who is the curer of these difficulties, is Allah, al-Shāfi.
Let us also remember the comforting words of the Prophet ﷺ:
“No misfortune or disease befalls a Muslim, no worry or grief or harm or distress – not even a thorn that pricks him – but Allah will expiate for him some of his sins because of that.” 
While we may not always see this during tough times, how many of us can put our hands up and say that after a particularly testing period, we look back on it and think, ‘it wasn’t so bad after all’? I would imagine that a good deal of us would be able to agree with that statement, and this is exactly the point – we are stronger than we often realise. And it is sometimes required that we are put in situations where we discover and rediscover our strengths and our faith in Allah and in Islam in order to guide us up and out from our lowest depths.
Seeking support carries no shame
Mental health issues can be debilitating when left unaddressed and allowed to become worse. Indeed, much like physical ailments, they need to be tackled in the most appropriate way for the given situation. There are some things we can do individually in order to address our mental health difficulties, like ruqya; concurrently, there are approaches that make use of specialists such as counsellors and psychiatrists, and talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, we must always place our trust in Allah.   
“Seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah], who are certain that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him.” 
On this day of World Mental Health, let us remember our true purpose in this life: living a life which pleases Allah and conforms to Islamic principles. Anything above and beyond this is arguably inconsequential.
Is there a problem with ‘mental health’ as we understand it?
For those who may be curious and have ever wondered how colonialism affects the field of psychology and mental health, check out what Imam Abdullah Hasan – a trained counsellor and community leader – had to say about the topic during an Unscripted episode from last year:
- Protection Against Envy by Shaykh Abu Rumaysah Refi Shafi
- Prophetic Remidies to Revive by Umm Zubayr
- Five Keys to Mental Health by Nusaybah Naeem
- One God Many Names | Al-Shāfi (The Healer) by Shaykh Ali Hammuda
 al-Qur’ān 2:286
 al-Tirmidhi 2398
 al-Qur’ān 2:45-46