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© Copyright 2020 by Muslim Youth Helpline. Registered charity number: 1108354

Mental Health Statistics

The Pew Research Centre reports that as of 2010, one fifth of the global 1.6 billion Muslim community resides in a non-Muslim majority country [1]. Uniquely the Muslim community in the UK is a significantly younger one, with the 2011 census data showing that the average age of the British Muslim population is 25 years, compared to 40 years in the general population [2].

It is widely recognised that mental health problems are responsible for the greatest proportion of ill health in the 10-18 age range [3]. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as not simply the absence of disorder but ‘a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’[4].

Rates of access to secondary mental health services for BME groups are lower than their Caucasian counterparts [5]. South Asians are the least likely to be referred to specialist services, even in regions like Birmingham where they form the BME group most frequently consulting primary care providers [6]. Black ethnic groups have been repeatedly shown to be the most likely to engage with mental health services in an acute setting in A&E as the first point of contact rather than primary care [6].

Muslims are less inclined, compared to other religious groups, to seek mental health services because they highlight a preference for help with a religious underpinning [7]. The link between Islamophobia and Muslims’ mental health has also been recognised. Muslims do not openly discuss their fears and concerns regarding mental health because of potential Islamophobia, so they are less likely to seek mental health services [8]. In general, there is a fear held by many Muslims of being “doubly stigmatised”, both by the Muslim community for having a mental illness and by the rest of the population for being non-white and Muslim [9].

The above text has been taken from our 2019 research report where we surveyed 1,077 Muslims aged 16-30. The survey resulted in the following findings:

  • 32% have suffered through suicidal thoughts.

  • 63% have suffered from anxiety.

  • 1/4 of respondents have had identity struggles.

  • 1/2 of respondents went to friends for help the last time they had an issue.

  • 40% of men said they spoke to nobody about their last issue.

  • 52% have suffered through depression.

  • Over a third (37%) of younger respondents (16-22 year olds) went to nobody for support the last time they had an issue. This was significantly more than their older counterparts, of whom 29% kept their issue to themselves.

  • When asked ‘do you feel you have enough easy access to help when you need it?’, more than 40% answered ‘no, not really’.

[1] Grim BJ, Karim MS. The future of the global Muslim population: projections for 2010-2030. Washington DC: Pew Research Center. 2011.

[2] “British Muslims in Numbers,” Dr Sundas Ali: Muslim Council of Britain [online], accessed April 23, 2018, 22, https://www.mcb.org.uk/wp-con- tent/uploads/2015/02/MCBCensusReport_2015.pdf.

[3] Lemer, Claire. "Annual report of the Chief Medical Officer 2012: our children deserve bet

ter: prevention pays." (2013), Chapter 10.

[4] WHO: Mental health: a state of wellbeing. Geneva: World Health Organization [online]; 2011. www.who.int/features/ factfiles/men- tal_health/en/.

[5] Mental Health Bulletin for 2011–12 (Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2013)

[6] Bhui K. et al (2003) ‘Ethnic variations in pathways to and use of specialist mental health services in the UK: systematic review’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 182, 105–106

[7] Hooman Keshavarzi and Amber Haque, “Outlining a Psychotherapy Model for Enhancing Muslim Mental Health Within an Islamic Context,” The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 23:3 (2012): 1, accessed April 22, 2018, doi:10.1080/10508619.2012.712000.

[8] Qulsoom Inayat, “Islamophobia and the Therapeutic Dialogue: Some Reflections,” Counselling Psychology Quarterly 20:3 (2007): 289, accessed April 25, 2018, doi:10.1080/09515070701567804.

[9] Shabir Banday, “Mental Health Issues Amongst Muslim Women Residing in South East Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership Boundary: A Study of Their Beliefs, Knowledge and Service Access Issues,”