Mental Health America works nationally and locally to raise awareness about mental health, with the goal of ensuring that those at risk for mental illnesses and related disorders receive proper, timely, and effective treatment. MHA encourages the use of culturally competent strategies that help address the needs of individuals with diverse values, beliefs, sexual orientations, and backgrounds that vary by race, ethnicity, and/or language.
The Civic Engagement Fund AMEMSA Fact Sheet reports that there are at least 3.5 million Americans of Arab descent.
According to the American Psychiatric Association:
- Based on estimates by the Pew Research Center, there are about 3.45 million Muslims living in the U.S., comprising about 1.1% of the total U.S. population.
- Muslim Americans can be found through the United States and often reside in larger metropolitan areas, particularly Muslim American immigrants.
- Muslim immigrants come from 75 different countries around the world; no single country or region accounts for a majority of Muslim immigrants, making it one of the most diverse religious communities in the U.S.
The American Psychiatric Association also reports:
- The Islamic tradition places strong emphasis on mental health, and its perspective transcends mind-body dualism to integrate behavioral and physical health.
- Certain Muslim communities, such as Pakistani and Egyptian, have high rates of marriages where they share the same bloodline, which can increase risk of developmental and psychiatric disorders.
- Many Muslims see prayer and reading of the Quran as having health benefits and may utilize these as a source of healing complementary to medical interventions.
According to the article "Engaging South Asian Youth and Families," 1 in 5 U.S. South Asians report experiencing a mood or anxiety disorder in their lifetime.
The American Psychiatric Association indicates that religious discrimination against Muslims is associated with depression, anxiety, subclinical paranoia, and alcohol use.
The article "Mental Health Issues of Muslim Americans" states that existing data show high rates of adjustment disorder experienced by Muslim Americans seeking mental health treatment, which may be suggestive of the challenges of cultural assimilation and adjustment, as well as discrimination and marginalization in society.
The South Asian Public Health Association reports:
- U.S. South Asians often express greater stigma toward mental illness than other groups.
- Mental health stigma impedes help-seeking in South Asian Americans.
In the article "Socio-political Aspects of Mental Health Practice with Arabs in the Israeli Context," the author shares that religious beliefs, importance of the family, and the stigma attached to mental health problems have substantial influence on Arab's perceptions and reactions toward mental health problems and their treatment.
The article "Socio-political Aspects of Mental Health Practice with Arabs in the Israeli Context" reports that a cultural gap leading to mistrust is given when a non-Arab mental health provider comes into contact with an Arab client.
The South Asian Public Health Association identified that culturally adapted family therapy and community-based approaches may be particularly relevant in South Asian American youth.
And according to the American Psychiatric Association:
- Nearly one-third of Muslim Americans perceived discrimination in health care settings; being excluded or ignored was the most frequently conveyed type of discrimination.
- A lack of understanding or knowledge about the religious beliefs, customs, or rituals of Muslim patients by non-Muslim providers may be an obstacle in establishing a therapeutic relationship.
- Existing data show high rates of adjustment disorder experienced by Muslim Americans seeking mental health treatment, which may be suggestive of the challenges of cultural integration and adjustment, as well as discrimination and marginalization in society.
The American Psychiatric Association reports:
- Involvement in community interventions can be utilized by providers to counter Islamophobia and encourage Muslim Americans to seek professional mental health care.
- Clinicians and mental health providers have a crucial role in addressing societally connected mental health challenges arising from Islamophobia.
- Youth participation in organized religious activities related to lower acculturative stress - the adjustment of coming into contact with and adjusting to another culture.