Muslims with mental health issues could be helped by re-embracing their beliefs and religious teachings, it is claimed.
Traditionally, therapists have shied away from talking about religion as part of treatment – and can often see it as part of the illness.
But an NHS project based on research by Leeds University is “showing some individual signs of success”.
Those behind the therapy say many Muslims do not get help because of stigma attached to mental illness.
‘I was broken’
Samia, who is in her late 40s, has struggled with depression and is taking part in the project.
“I just felt like I had to constantly keep myself strong and put on a brave face. Deep inside I was actually broken,” she says.
“When I actually fell apart, when I was at my lowest, I felt that there was something that I might have done to upset Allah, which is God.”
Lead researcher Dr Ghazala Mir, of the university’s Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, says this is a common concern among Muslims, who are under-referred for mental health treatment.
“This stigma does involve the idea that maybe if you need treatment, there might be something wrong with your faith identity in the first place,” she says.
“Not only is there under-referral but the outcomes for people who do actually get referred are not as good as the general population.”