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Representation of mental illness in the Muslim population, results from the French WHO study: Mental Health in the General Population

Mautret, É., Amad, A., Genin, M., Roelandt, J.-L., Benradia, I., & Thomas, P. (2013).  Information psychiatrique, 89(7), 579-585.

The Islamic representation of mental illness is often mentioned in an Arab-Muslim context. However, little is known about an objective point of view of these representations. To improve our care system, it seems important to better understand the current link between Islam and its representation of mental illness. We used the results of the survey “Mental Health in the General Population” to study the influence of Islam practice on mental illness representations in the Maghreb and in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais department. We show that there is a very slight difference between the groups. Indeed, religious etiology was rarely evoked (<5%) and religious or traditional therapy was also scarce. However, we show some subtle differences in patient reception and suicidal representation. The influence of migration is also discussed and we show that representations change with level of migration. By improving our knowledge as regards the representation of mental illness in some minorities, we can enhance our medical practice due to a better therapeutic alliance.

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