I'M A 22 YEAR OLD SHIA ISMAILI MUSLIM WOMAN...
...and about to graduate from a prestigious college. I’ve been fortunate enough to have good mental health and strive to spread the positivity. However there are many people around me that are the opposite and at the other side or the spectrum. Personally in my family, mental health is taken very, very lightly. I've had friends whose parents deny that mental health could ever be something that needs to be taken care for. But I’ve also have had friends who parents are in complete support to provide the resources necessary to allow personal growth.
I feel very fortunate that my community provides services and help that is needed for those in need. We have the Aga Khan health board that provides the resources one may need that ranges from mammograms, therapy, flu shots and so much more. And that greatest thing about it is that they are very encourage so that people are comfortable and open to seeking help. Through my experiences as a Muslim, it seems as if sometimes mental health can never go benign and that people cannot accept it. Mental health seems to have slim threshold of categories that include depression, anxiety, and basically the bare minimal. Everything else doesn’t seem to exist.
Sometimes I sit back and think about how there is still a lack of awareness in the Muslim community when it comes to mental health, which impacts so much of the younger generation today. I believe it is extremely important to have discussions about the topics are through into the forbidden forest and swept under the carpet. It’s difficult to have discussions and conversations about sexuality, gender roles, feminism, modern and traditional relationships, and much more. There isn’t always a comfortable honest and open space to drop our thoughts into but instead many Muslims pretend like these things don’t exist and then look down upon the action of looking for answers outside the community. We lack a healthy platform for the youth to have encouraging discussions.
Islam is not patriarchal and it is not meant to be put into a tiny, tiny box, but it is meant for everyone. As our culture has evolved, it is important to encourage the people who are looking for an Islam that allows them to be an active member.