Islamic cleric tasks Muslims on mental health care

Rafat Salami

The chief Imam of the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society Adeyemi Fuad has tasked muslims to seek medical help for depression and other mental health issues.

Imam Fuad in his Friday sermon to commemorate World Health Day said depressesion like other medical conditions can be treated.

Echoing WHOs report that Nigeria has the highest burden of depression in Africa; Imam Fuad said lack of faith in Allah, having irrational competition, unrealistic and unachievable dreams were driving depression among many Nigerians.

According to him untreated depression was driving people into suicidal tendencies. ‘Recently we heard reports of a medical doctor who committed suicide by jumping into the Lagos lagoon, we also heard of two women who also attempted suicide by jumping into the lagoon, we also have a case of a someone in Ebonyi state that committed suicide”, he said

In line with the theme of the World Health Day which is ‘Depression: Lets talk’, Imam Fuad asked his congregation to discuss their problems and not keep it to themselves.

He said poverty and the current economic recession could drive more people into depression but said ‘people should learn to talk about their problems” and he also counseled religious leaders to counsel their followers who show symptoms of depression.

World Health Day

The WHO says depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide as “more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015.”

WHO cites lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.

The theme of the World Health Day is “Depression: let’s talk” and it aims to ensure that more people with depression, everywhere in the world, both seek and get help.

WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan one of the first steps is to address issues around prejudice and discrimination.

Urgent need for increased investment

WHO called for an increased investment in the provision of care for depression as it said, in many countries, there is no, or very little, support available for people with mental health disorders.

Even in high-income countries, nearly 50% of people with depression do not get treatment. On average, just 3% of government health budgets is invested in mental health, varying from less than 1% in low-income countries to 5% in high-income countries.