Play your part, contribute now.

Mental Health Awareness: Identifying and Managing the Problem

Our mental well-being has its occasional ups and downs. No one is safe from those sporadic pangs of stress, anxiety and depression. And almost everyone obsessively does something at some point in their lives. 

However, when these occasional jumps in our mental well-being become more persistent, anxiety becomes our daily companion, depression begins shaping our personality, and OCD becomes a lifestyle; that’s where things get dark and murky. 

This is where we need to draw a line and spur into action. But unfortunately, mental health awareness is scarce in our society. 

This is why we often tend to fight with our demons alone when help is readily available. And sometimes, we continue to suffer quietly without even realising we may have a problem. 

The prevalent stigma around mental health may be to blame. 

You come out and tell someone you are struggling mentally, and they may retort with something like “Ye kya naye naye dramay hein.” 

But this has to end. Mental health awareness needs to spread. And it can start right here, right now. 

Why is Mental Health Awareness Important? 

Mental health disorders impact our moods, thinking and behaviour. When left unchecked, issues like anxiety and depression may start affecting our physical health with uncomfortable and often dangerous symptoms like diarrhoea, insomnia, and headaches. 

Beyond simply destroying your mental and physical well-being, these disorders can also influence your relationships, friendships, work and school performance. 

These problems may be curable, but without realising we have an issue or vital support needed to seek help, we may remain entrapped in a substandard life forever. 

This is why mental health awareness is essential. It empowers the person suffering from an issue to realise they may have a problem and seek help. Being aware may also help us be more supportive and encouraging towards people dealing with mental health disorders. 

Building Mental Health Awareness: Are You Suffering? 

A mental health professional is more suited to diagnose mental health problems. However, most mental health disorders often have very obvious symptoms. If recognised, these symptoms can prompt the one suffering to do something about their situation or seek professional help. 

Here are some of the symptoms that, if present, may be tell-tale signs of an underlying mental health condition:

  • Feeling worried, anxious, guilty, or depressed. 
  • Disturbance in sleep, weight, personal hygiene, and performance at school or work. 
  • Lack of energy and motivation, feeling irritable, numb, or teary. 
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the situation. 
  • Withdrawals from social interactions and activities. 
  • Poor concentration.
  • A sense of impending danger or doom. 

This list is not exhaustive. You may still have a mental health condition if you have none of these symptoms. Consider speaking with a therapist or psychologist if you feel like you need help. 

Having one or two of these symptoms for short periods may not necessarily indicate a mental health condition. If you have these symptoms and they persist for over two weeks, then you may benefit from seeking professional help or with the management strategies we share next. 

Coming out of the Darkness: Managing Your Mental Health Issues

Disorders like anxiety, depression, and OCD can sometimes be controlled using various strategies and techniques. These techniques are designed to help you regain control of your mind and empower you towards a better life.

We have listed some management strategies for depression, anxiety, and OCD below to help you manage these issues, especially if they are mild or the symptoms have just started to appear.

Managing Depression

Depression drains your energy and motivation to do anything. And so, implementing the management strategies for depression may become more challenging. However, starting small and making a conscious effort to improve your lifestyle is vital for working towards a better life. 

Here are a few things you can do to crack your way through the dark walls of depression:

Be Social

Loneliness seems like the perfect refuge when you are being sucked into the dark pits of depression. But isolating yourself with your thoughts can make matters worse. Consider going out with people who make you feel better. This may help distract you from your thoughts and keep the depression at bay. 

Moreover, consider hanging out with positive people. Some people are inherently optimistic and can have a positive outlook for even the most negative situations. Hanging out with these people can sometimes help brighten your day. 

Practice Gratitude

Making a conscious effort to find positive things in your life and being grateful for them can put things in perspective and help you pull your mind through destructive, depressing thoughts and feelings. 

Take some time out from your day. Sit down and note all the positive things that happened. It could be something minor, like spotting a butterfly or looking at a flower blooming outside the garden. 


Getting up and moving may be the last thing you may want to do when depressed. However, exercise, even something as simple as a walk around the neighbourhood, can help bring your depression down. 

A full thirty-minute workout may seem impossible, but that’s okay. You can start small with a ten-minute walk and work your way up. 

Challenge the Negative Thoughts!

When you are depressed, your mind can put a negative spin on everything. 

Identify your negative thought pattern and root it out of your brain. Challenge the thought and ask yourself, what if this is not true and some other, more positive reality is actually true? 

It’s okay to have bad days. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just try to control your thoughts and twist the negative into positive as best as you can. 

This is one of the benefits of mental health awareness. It empowers you with these strategies that give you hope for a better life, regardless of how depressed you may be. 

Managing Anxiety

Occasional bouts of anxiety are normal. But if you start worrying obsessively about something, that’s when you are prone to develop an anxiety disorder. 

If you feel like you are developing symptoms of an anxiety disorder or dealing with one already, try the following management strategies: 


Getting up and moving about is perhaps the best solution there is for anxiety. When you exercise, your heart rate goes up. This results in changes in brain chemistry and increases anti-anxiety neurochemicals like serotonin. 

Therefore, consider incorporating exercise into your daily routine and stick to it. 

Avoid Caffeine

Most of us live for our daily dose of caffeine, be it through chai or coffee. However, the caffeine in your beloved beverage may be worsening your anxiety symptoms. 

Therefore, consider cutting down on or completely eliminating caffeine from your routine to try and manage your anxiety better. 

Yes, increased mental health awareness may lead you to quit your favourite beverage, but it’s all for good! 

Identify Your Triggers

Anxiety is rooted in negative thoughts. And these thoughts usually arrive when you come across specific triggers. 

Identify what triggers your negative thoughts and make an effort to avoid them. 

Try Grounding Exercise

This exercise is also called the 5,4,3,2,1 exercise. It engages all five senses to divert your attention away from worrying thoughts and ground you in the present. 

You are required to identify:

  • Five things you can see: Look around and spot five things around you. 
  • Four things you can touch: Feel the different textures around you and make a mental list of four different textures you can feel. 
  • Three things you can hear: Listen closely to ambient sounds. What can you hear? Make a mental list of 3 of the sounds. 
  • Two things you can smell: Take a sniff of the air around you and think of two things you can smell. It could be the smell of the air, the food in the kitchen or the hand soap you just washed your hands with. 
  • One thing you can taste: It could be something as simple as water or the air around you. 

Breathing Exercises

We tend to take very shallow breaths in our day-to-day lives. This is why taking some time out from your day to focus on breathing exercises can help you disengage from your distressing thoughts. 

Look up some breathing exercises and practice them daily to help improve your mental health!

Managing OCD

OCD is a disorder in which you can experience recurring, uncontrollable thoughts that make you uncomfortable or push you towards repetitive behaviour called compulsions. 

Unfortunately, OCD is a term thrown around pretty casually in society. The disorder, in reality, however, is no fun and can be highly distressing to the one who truly has it. 

Here are a few ways you can control OCD:

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

ERP is essentially a delaying tactic where you delay acting on your compulsion. 

Next time you are obsessively thinking about something and feel compelled to do it, give yourself some time before doing it. Tell yourself you’ll do the compulsion after ten seconds. And after ten seconds, do it if you still feel it. But gradually increase the wait time until you can eventually get over the obsessive thought without acting on the compulsion. 

Ignore the Thought

This may be easier said than done. However, you may have to do the tough job of ignoring your compulsive thoughts, not obsessing over them, and not acting on them to improve the quality of your life.

One way that is proven to work by personal experience is to let your thoughts know, “I’ll get to you tonight.” Instead of engaging with the thought right then and there, take a break from the thought, give it an “appointment”, and tell it you will entertain it at a later time. 

This way, the thought will pass in a few minutes and will mostly not return for a good amount of time. And it will most definitely miss its appointment. 

Remember, these techniques are often recommended when trying to manage OCD and have proven to work for certain individuals. That, however, does not mean they may work for everyone. Therefore, it is always best to consult with a mental health professional for a customized management strategy. 

Mental health awareness empowers you with these management strategies that can help you or those around you work towards better mental well-being. 

If you struggle mentally yourself, try doing these strategies as best as you can and avoid stressing too much if you fall short! 

Improving Mental Health: The Islamic Approach

Islam is a complete way of life. Within the deen, you can find everything you need to solve all your problems. 

Similarly, Islam has some pretty solid strategies for dealing with and coming out of mental health issues. 

There are authentic strategies and complete guidance plans that are rooted in Islam and work well for curing mental health disorders. We list some of them below. 

The Power of A’audhubillah

Most mental health disorders are rooted in a recurring negative thought. What do we call such a thought in Islam? A Waswasa. When the waswasa is negative, which it almost always is, we know its source is rooted in evil. Who’s evil? The devils. 

Fortunately, Allah SWT has not left us alone to deal with these devils alone. The Quran teaches us a vital dua: 

وَقُلْ رَّبِّ اَعُوۡذُ بِكَ مِنۡ هَمَزٰتِ الشَّيٰطِيۡنِۙ‏ ٩٧ وَاَعُوۡذُ بِكَ رَبِّ اَنۡ يَّحۡضُرُوۡنِ‏ ٩٨

“And say, “My Lord! I seek refuge in You from the temptations of the devils. And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, that they ˹even˺ come near me.” [Quran 23:97-98]

Memorise this dua and recite it as soon as you feel those destructive negative thoughts coming, and you’ll see how they fade away. 

We can’t ignore the power of a simple اعوذ باللہ من الشیطان الرجیم (I seek protection with Allah from the Satan) either. Whenever you feel those dark demons coming near you, say this and dry spit on your left shoulder thrice. 

The thoughts may come back again. But you have a weapon now. Use it, and with it, try to build more control over your mind. 

Dhikr – A Shield Against the Devils

The devils overcome us when we turn blind towards the remembrance of our Rabb. 

Allah SWT says in the Quran:

“He who is negligent to remember the Merciful One, to him We assign a satan as his boon companion” [43:36]

When the devil becomes your companion, it starts doing what it does best: whispering. Negative thoughts become frequent, and you drown in anxiety and depression. 

So, the antidote to the devils’ whisperings is to increase our Dhikr and remember Allah SWT as much as we can throughout the day. 

We learn from a hadith of our Prophet SAW that:

“…a servant will not protect himself against Shaytān except by the dhikr of Allah.” [at-Tirmidhi 2863] 

Maintain your morning and evening adhkar. Besides that, ensure that your tongue remains busy in dhikr throughout the day. 

Ruqyah for Spiritual Healing

When a bacteria takes over your body, you need an antibiotic to get rid of it. Similarly, when the devil takes over your heart and mind, you need an antidote before you heal. Ruqyah is that antidote. 

But similar to how you have to take an antibiotic regularly for it to be effective, you have to do Ruqyah daily for it to work. 

What is Ruqyah? 

Ruqyah is when you leverage the blessed verses of the Quran and Sunnah duas for healing. The practice is proven in the Sunnah, and we learn that our beloved Prophet SAW recited Ruqyah for himself. 

Surah Fatiha is a prescribed dua for Ruqyah. But you can recite any verse or authentic dua when performing Ruqyah.

Remember, it is best to do Ruqyah yourself. Avoid going to “spiritual” people for Ruqyah since the healing power is in Allah SWT’s words and authentic duas and not in the one who recites them. 

Seek Professional Help

Mental health awareness is vital for a healthy life, both at individual and social levels.

Learn about common mental health problems and their symptoms. Then, see if you or someone around you exhibits those symptoms. 

If you are struggling with deteriorating mental health yourself, try the management and healing strategies we have shared above. And if it’s someone close to you, guide them and empower them to incorporate these strategies in their life. 

Also, consider seeking professional help. Work with trained Muslim psychologists and therapists who can guide you and empower you with tools to regain control of your mind and lead a healthier, happier life. 

Remember, never take anti-anxiety medicines or antidepressants unless advised and approved by a medical professional. 

Advocating for and working towards mental health awareness is the best first step to ensuring mental well-being.

 Here’s to a better, more empowered life! 

Read our latest posts: The Lost Art of Manhood, Elixir of YouthTips to Stay Modest this SummerGaza’s Tears – A PoemPeer Pressure,  Fasting in Shawwal and Keeping the Spirit Alive Post-Ramadan

Leave a Comment

Endorsement of Zakat and Sadqat Youth Club

The Courses