Guest Rania Awaad is a psychiatrist who studies mental health in the U.S. Muslim community. There are promising approaches, like talk therapy derived in historic Muslim settings, that can also apply to other faith communities. The deeper lesson, she says, has been that Islamic approaches are in line with mainstream ideas of holistic health and healing. Like others, Muslims believe you can’t be physically well if you’re not mentally well, Awaad tells host Russ Altman in this episode of Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything podcast.
[00:00:00] Rania Awaad: I set up on this journey of figuring out what is the connection between Islam itself and mental health. And that’s where a lot of the research I had pulled up and have published now on myself and my entire lab on historical understandings of mental illness and treatments, actually. Discovering amazing things like that talk therapy was used in historical Muslim communities and most people don’t even realize that. You know, don’t realize that there’s origins to that historically.[00:00:30]
[00:00:30] Russ Altman: This is Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything and I’m your host Russ Altman.
If you enjoy the podcast, please follow or subscribe to it on your favorite podcast listening app. Today, professor Rania Awaad will tell us about how she is helping understand and serve the Muslim community as they deal with mental health issues. It’s the future of Muslim mental health.
Before we jump into this episode, a reminder to please rate and review the podcast. That helps us immensely with getting the [00:01:00] word out about the podcast and improving it.
Many of us recognize that mental health has been undergoing a big transformation. The last couple of decades have shown an important de-stigmatization of mental health. For many years before that, having depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder was something that was hidden. People were ashamed to admit that they had these diseases. We’ve made great progress in helping [00:01:30] people understand that these are diseases just like diabetes or lung cancer, and that you need to seek help.
However, what about religious people? What about folks with a deep faith, Christians, Jews, Muslims, how does the faith interact with their understanding of mental health?
In particular for Muslim communities in the United States, this has been a big challenge. Very often they’re coming as recent immigrants from war torn areas. They are experiencing lots of discrimination and [00:02:00] misunderstanding from the preexisting population in the US. Others have been here for many generations and continue to have traumatic experiences. What does this mean as they process both their mental health challenges as well as their religious faith?
Rania Awaad is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. She specializes in understanding the special challenges of treating mental health disorders in the Muslim community.
She has studied the texts of the Muslim faith and she’s a board certified [00:02:30] psychiatrist, and she brings this together to create innovative programs for treating her patients. Not surprisingly, the lessons that she’s learned are relevant to more than the Muslim community, and so she’s also exporting these learnings to many other practitioners who can find wisdom in her teachings and figure out ways to optimize the health of their patients who are struggling from mental health in the context of deep religious faith.
So Rania, your work focuses on the mental [00:03:00] health of the Muslim community. What are the special challenges in studying and serving that community?
[00:03:05] Rania Awaad: Yeah, definitely this community here in the United States and in the West in general is a minority community. So one of the biggest kind of challenges really is how do we make sure that there is access to care. And also kind of bringing down some of the stigma related to mental health, um, in this community. It’s a very diverse community, is another kind of main challenge we have here. It’s not homogenous in any way and so there’s lots of diversity, ethnically, racially, [00:03:30] socioeconomically, even religiosity wise. So there’s lots of different, um, factors to consider. And when you think about how do you get mental health care to all of these different, um, parts of the Muslim community, then you realize, wow, this is kind of a big undertaking. So those are some of the biggest challenges currently that I would say are happening for this community.
[00:03:48] Russ Altman: It’s not hard to imagine that, uh, being a Muslim person in the United States can be very challenging, so I’m sure a fraction of them are new immigrants, uh, coming from places [00:04:00] where there’s been terrible things happening. Some of them may be long-term people who have, many been here for many generations. Um, what are the issues that you see most commonly as I believe a practicing psychiatrist. Um, what do you see in this community and, uh, are there heightened rates of mental health challenges compared to, uh, other populations?
[00:04:23] Rania Awaad: So these are all great questions. Honestly, what we see, and here again, I’ll use the word, I prefer to use the word [00:04:30] communities ’cause we, what we’re talking about is multiple different communities. And you’re absolutely right. Depending on whether this. Uh, the person we’re talking about is an immigrant, a new immigrant. Are they first generation, second generation, a 0.5 generation or 1.5 generation? There’s all these new terminologies in terms of, um, acculturation. How, um, long has a person been here and kind of, is there the sense of like having a heart in two worlds where they’re very much still mind and heart is somewhere else, actually not here in the US. And maybe also family members and [00:05:00] challenges that they’re constantly thinking about there versus um, let’s say children who may have been born and raised here all their life and now they’re raising their own children here.
And those issues might be very different actually than their parents who may have immigrated. Then you have, for example, the African American community, which is actually the largest subgroup of the American Muslim community and they have been here since the start of the United States. And so you’re talking about, you know, intergenerational trauma and interracial trauma for a very very long time. [00:05:30] Um, all of which adds to mental health concerns.
[00:05:32] Russ Altman: Yeah.
[00:05:33] Rania Awaad: So yes, I would say that there’s, um, there’s a lot of factors to think about and when you compare mental health rates to other communities, you actually don’t find necessarily that there are much higher depression, anxiety, so on. Where you do find some major differences have to do with adjustment rates, so adjusting to the current climate that we’re in, or the, sometimes the social political climate keeps changing.
[00:05:57] Russ Altman: Yes.
[00:05:57] Rania Awaad: Right? The last few years have been different than [00:06:00] the year, you know, the years prior to that. And so we’ve really been, um, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster, I would say, and those of us who are mental professionals in the field have felt this too actually.
[00:06:11] Russ Altman: So one of the things that, um, always comes up, and I know you’ve studied this, is the relationship of the faith itself, uh, the, the religious faith, two perceptions of mental health, openness to treatment. I know that all, uh, all faiths ha um, have, um, traditions. Some of them [00:06:30] are easier, some of them are less easy. To, um, kind of resolve with mental health problems and, uh, challenges. So I’m wondering if you could tell me how did, how, what is the situation with respect to the Islamic faith and the ways in which it helps or hinders people in recognizing their need for, uh, treatment and then doing the treatments themselves?
[00:06:49] Rania Awaad: This is probably one of my favorite questions, I would say, and here, because for me it’s, I don’t, kind of preface this by saying for me, it’s been a really long and personal journey actually to try to answer this [00:07:00] exact question. Uh, growing up I would say I never heard of a connection between Islam and mental health. Didn’t even realize that there was one. In fact, when I personally entered into the field, there were a lot of naysayers around me saying, who’s even gonna come to you for help? Like, no, this is not something we do. Um, and it turned out a lot of that sentiment was really much more cultural taboos, kind of like we don’t air our dirty laundry to strangers kind of, you know, sentiment. Which actually is shared by many communities, not unique to the Muslim community. And [00:07:30] then I set up on this journey of figuring out what is the connection between Islam itself and mental health. And that’s where a lot of the research I had pulled up and have published now on myself and my entire lab on historical understandings of mental illness and treatments actually. Discovering amazing things like that talk therapy was used in historic Muslim communities.
[00:07:50] Russ Altman: Wow.
[00:07:50] Rania Awaad: And most people don’t even realize that, you know, don’t realize that there’s origins to that historically within Muslim communities.
[00:07:57] Russ Altman: I’m very interested in your comment about the [00:08:00] cultural root versus the root in the faith and the tradition of the faith, because I think many of us don’t. Many people, including perhaps me, don’t always think carefully about what’s coming from the cultural background versus the faith tradition. And so can you talk a little bit more about that? Because I’m imagining that people have trouble separating that because you grow up and then both of them are intermingled.
You know, the holidays are both a family and civic event as well as a faith [00:08:30] event. So how do you, uh, and I’m sure that these principles apply to all faiths where there’s a resistance, especially since mental health has come with stigma and, uh, over the years. How do you start to untangle these very tight connections?
[00:08:44] Rania Awaad: Yeah, that’s, I think that is the question of the day. Um, so often I find myself saying, now, “is that cultural?” Right or, “is that something that’s coming from the faith itself?” Um, and part of that is for me, has actually been going back to the literature, the primary sources, the primary text, the scriptures, [00:09:00] of course that has been very useful to be able to set. You know, basically sets apart what is culture and what is religion.
Um, and it’s been very eye-opening. I think what I’ve been able to discover in this journey is that actually the Islamic faith as a faith is very much in line with the concept of holistic health and healing. And so mental health is part of it, holistic health. It’s, you can’t really even be physically well if you’re not mentally well. And so, and I would add to that spiritually well, so all of these are intertwined, [00:09:30] mind, body, soul. I mean that is really the essence of Islamic teaching.
[00:09:34] Russ Altman: Yes.
[00:09:34] Rania Awaad: And so coming to that realization had me then realize, wait a second, so what did the early scholars say about this? And that’s where I was doing a lot of the reading of primary text spend many years actually digging through those manuscripts found amazing things like the discovery on the talk therapy and other forms of, you know, OCD was discovered in the ninth century, for example, and wrote those papers, phobia was discovered back.
[00:09:54] Russ Altman: And are these just, sorry to interrupt, but are these actually discussed and described in [00:10:00] the scriptures and in the original texts of the faith?
[00:10:03] Rania Awaad: So there, so what happens is with a lot of the early Muslim scholars, what they’re doing is referencing the scripture. So their works as they’re writing about and really contemplating and also classifying and diagnosing what is this illness they’re seeing in front of them, they refer back to scripture.
[00:10:18] Russ Altman: Ah.
[00:10:18] Rania Awaad: And it’s really interesting ’cause they’ll say things like, there is a prophetic saying, an a Hadith prophetic narration of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him. That literally says, if God sends down an illness, [00:10:30] there will also be sent down a cure, a treatment. And then says in a different statement, you need to go seek out treatment.
[00:10:36] Russ Altman: Okay.
[00:10:37] Rania Awaad: If you’re ill. So that really inspires, it’s like an impetus that really inspires them to figure out how do you treat out of every type of illness we see around us, including mental illness.
[00:10:45] Russ Altman: So, and I’m guessing that your knowledge of this is one of many tools you have. When interacting with a patient who might be hesitant.
I also want to, on this cultural, uh, distinction. I want to ask, are people willing to make that [00:11:00] distinction? Becacuse I could imagine that some people, the cultural background is just as important as the faith. You know, they self-identify. So I don’t think It’s not obvious to me that you could say to a patient. Oh, by the way, this is very consistent with the readings of our faith, because they might say, well, I also have cultural concerns.
So I guess I’m asking how? If a new patient comes to you, and I guess it’s a big step to even come to you, right? Because that means they’ve already acknowledged, um, what does that conversation look like and what are the kinds of tools that [00:11:30] you have to establish an alliance with that patient and like, make progress in their treatment?
[00:11:36] Rania Awaad: So, Let me share this with you. Earlier this month I was at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention, and uh, this is the first time in their entire history, 130 some years of their history to ever have on their main stage a topic on mental health and religion.
[00:11:52] Russ Altman: Wow.
[00:11:52] Rania Awaad: And so, yes, exactly. So it is, it’s, I mean, it’s kind of a new area within this field, but it’s a growing [00:12:00] area and I found myself on that stage saying, um, the, this exact same sentiment of you need to, so all the providers, clinicians in the room, you need to figure out actually. Is this person self-identifying more with their culture or more with their religion? Are they seeing themself as a Muslim American? Who is of Arab origin, or are they an Arab who’s living in America, who’s happens to be Muslim, right? Like depending on the order that they put this in, these things definitely will [00:12:30] play a bigger role in the conversation and the rapport that you build with them in therapy.
[00:12:34] Russ Altman: So I’m not very familiar with Muslim faith, but I’m familiar with other faiths. And I know that people sometimes say, I’m not going to a doctor because this is a test from the Lord. Uh, and I’m, it’s my duty to battle this, these demons. Uh, And, um, to get help to, especially to take a pill, is really undermining the whole process of [00:13:00] how I’m supposed to live my life. And I’m suspecting you’ve heard this plenty.
[00:13:03] Rania Awaad: Yeah.
[00:13:03] Russ Altman: Tell me how do we then address that issue being respectful of the context, but also trying to push your agenda of a holistic treatment?
[00:13:12] Rania Awaad: Exactly. You know, the fancy term in our field would be to call this spiritual bypassing. Where you essentially, you know, give this kind of almost like a rosy tinted glasses of like that use a lot of religious kind of framework to explain what’s happening, trials and tribulations, which all by the way may be very well [00:13:30] the kind, the conceptual, the mental conceptualization the person has of their illness. That all may be accurate to them and that’s very important and not to minimize that in any way.
[00:13:38] Russ Altman: Right, right.
[00:13:39] Rania Awaad: Um, here, you know, Russ, this is where my dual training has served me well ’cause I’m also trained formally in Islamic Law and Theology. And so, it’s really been helpful actually for patients that are on the more religious end of the spectrum to say that say like, no, this is really a test from God. This is not something I need medications for and we’ll talk through that. And being able to actually [00:14:00] give and cite direct scripture and passages as they’re citing back. You know, kind of a friendly tussle a
[00:14:05] Russ Altman: Yes.
[00:14:05] Rania Awaad: Little bit sometimes. Um, but often I find that patients are kind of relieved actually to know that it’s okay to take, to seek out treatment, to get help that they need. And that’s actually encouraged by the religion. And so that’s act often, more often what I find is the response.
[00:14:22] Russ Altman: Very good. Very. So that’s good to know. Uh, of course the question that comes up then is you have this spectacular training and [00:14:30] preparation for this with your dual credentials as you just described. We can’t have all of the doctors with that dual training. So I, how do you, uh, evangelize, there’s a loaded word. How do you evangelize these learnings that you have? Um, I know you were on the podium at the meeting, that’s great. But are there other ways in which you can transfer to practitioners, some of these practices without them having to become Islamic Muslim scholars?
[00:14:54] Rania Awaad: Yes. Yes, perfect question. You know, this is actually after having my lab for, you know, the Stanford lab, the [00:15:00] Muslim Mental Health and Islamic Psychology Lab for, we’re about to celebrate the 10th year.
[00:15:03] Russ Altman: Congratulations.
[00:15:05] Rania Awaad: Thank you. And, um, after some, you know, a period of time I realized, you know, we really need something that’s actually more community facing because there’re going to be all these physicians, psychiatrists that wanna come forward who won’t be able to be dual trained. I mean, that’s gonna be the rarity. So what do you do? And we decided, actually, I helped co-found a nonprofit. That is attached to my lab, it’s called Maristan. Which is important too and maybe I’ll come to that. What does this [00:15:30] word even mean? Because it has historical meaning to it. But this nonprofit, one of the main things it does is actually take on the trainings you’re referring to. It does a lot of the train the trainers.
[00:15:39] Russ Altman: Yes.
[00:15:39] Rania Awaad: Essentially model where you’re training people who already in the field, but just are missing this extra portion. We’ve also written a book on traditionally islamically integrated psychotherapy. So the TIIP model, which basically takes Islamic concepts and integrates it into clinical psychotherapy. And so that is a four level training that people can [00:16:00] attend, clinicians can attend and actually learn how do you integrate the Islamic concepts into the clinical training that you already have received from your master’s or PhD programs or MD programs.
[00:16:10] Russ Altman: Uh, just to dive a little bit more into that. So I have training as a general internist.
And I know that I see lots of mental health issues in my patients, and in fact, as you well know, probably general internists and primary care physicians see a huge, um, number of patients. Is there a way to, um, I guess the two questions are, [00:16:30] is there a way to also package it up? Not for your fellow psychiatrists, but also for the busy primary care physician? A.
And then B, I’m asking two questions, I guess. Um, are the principles for, uh, devout, uh, Muslims significantly different from the way you might approach a devout Christian or a devout Jew? Um, do we need to learn about these different faiths and the different approaches, or are there common threads that we can kind of lean on, uh instead?
[00:16:58] Rania Awaad: Okay, so for the two questions.
[00:16:59] Russ Altman: [00:17:00] Sorry, that was a lot of questions.
[00:17:01] Rania Awaad: No, no, it’s, they’re great questions. And I’ve definitely have been thinking about this quite a bit and so I’ll answer the second question first, right?
[00:17:08] Russ Altman: Yes.
[00:17:09] Rania Awaad: There are definitely common threads between, especially the Abrahamic faiths. There’s just such a connection between all three of them. Um, there’s, and a commonality that actually makes sense. Including the concept of religious bypass, spiritual bypassing. A lot of that happens actually in all three faiths for devout, um, observant, uh, you know, uh, members of that commun those communities.
And so what I’m [00:17:30] finding actually is I’m finding myself actually doing trainings. It’s really interesting being a hijab Muslim woman doing trainings in church, you know, for pastors and priests and so on, because there’s such a level of commonality.
[00:17:40] Russ Altman: Yes.
[00:17:40] Rania Awaad: Actually. Um, and in addition, I would say for the clinicians now, uh, who are outside of the field of psychiatry, so recently Stanford hosted their CME Continuing Medical Education Program, kind of hosted a training that I did that was really open to all clinicians. And it’s this, it was called. And it was a quick and [00:18:00] kind of quick and dirty, kinda like a hour and a half, two hours of the nuances, like the unique aspects of what you, what happens when you work with a Muslim patient.
[00:18:06] Russ Altman: Yes.
[00:18:06] Rania Awaad: And it was called pole centered, you know, holistic care for Muslim patients. Right. And that, um, those are the kind of things that I am very passionate about doing ’cause I wanna make sure this message gets across the APA. The American Psychiatric Association actually is hosting on their website, a three hour training that’s free. Now they’re actually making it free. Usually CME trainings, as you know, are not free, but this is free. And I’ve [00:18:30] recorded, um, with my, you know, my voiceover basically on this training, about three and a half hours of how do you work with this population. So that’s really great. The hope here.
[00:18:40] Russ Altman: This is The Future of Everything with Russ Altman. More with Rania Awaad next.
Welcome back to The Future of Everything. I’m your host, Russ Altman, and I’m speaking with Professor Rania Awaad from Stanford University. [00:19:00]
In the last segment, Rania told us about some of the special challenges of ministering to the mental health diseases faced by the Muslim community in the context of those with deep faith.
In this segment, she’ll tell us about her nonprofit maran and how there are lessons there that can help all patients from all faiths.
I wanted to start out to, in the second segment, asking about COVID 19 and what it was like for you and for that community? Uh, it was hard for everybody, and I’m guessing there were some special [00:19:30] challenges.
[00:19:31] Rania Awaad: You know, definitely. Um, COVID 19 was such a difficult time and, you know, two months into the lockdown, um, was the month of Ramadan. And that particular month is the month of fasting for Muslims. It’s also a very communal month, a congregational month where people get together, they break fast together, they eat together, they pray together, and it’s, there’s such an emphasis on family and community. Um, and all of that changed.
[00:19:57] Russ Altman: Yeah.
[00:19:57] Rania Awaad: And so, We thought [00:20:00] myself as you know, clinician and researcher, kind of really thought, I wonder how the community’s gonna do with all of this. And uh, a group of us actually came together and did a study and I wanna share a little bit about that study. But it’s, it was a global study.
It was really interesting. You know, we kind of surveyed Muslims in the US but also actually across the world, and it had about something like 10,000 people within the study. So a pretty big number of folks, and asked them things like, how are you doing? Kind of conceptualizing covid. Like what was this, a test from God? Is this kind of like a [00:20:30] reminder of some sort? Is this a punishment of some sort? What is their spiritual understanding? And then how does that correlate with their mental health? How are they doing? ’cause we saw the rates of depression and anxiety, even suicidality go up. Everything sort of really mental health wise, really go up in the pandemic.
And it was so interesting, the findings. Um, Muslims that are observant, pray five times a day and those prayers, I think what they did for so many people in the study they explained is they were anchor points. So even when people are on lockdown and not going out and about and doing their typical [00:21:00] a daily kind of process. They still had an ability to kind of know one night was, and one day was because of these kind of rich rituals that were in place, this routine that was in place. And even though the congregation changed or the month of fasting kind of changed without having community, there were all these alternative ways people were doing it.
They were breaking fast over zoom with their friends and FaceTiming with their family and things of that nature. Um, but it, the mental health part was probably the most interesting to me. Because what we found is those who [00:21:30] conceptualize Covid to 19 is sort of more like a reminder from God or a test and a tribulation which is more aligned to the Islamic teachings versus like a punishment
[00:21:39] Russ Altman: Ahh.
[00:21:39] Rania Awaad: Of some sort actually had a much better outcome mental health wise. In fact, so much so that actually I don’t have anything as a psychiatrist, I can give to a patient where I can say there will be a 60% difference. And this was a 60% difference.
[00:21:55] Russ Altman: Wow.
[00:21:56] Rania Awaad: Of those who reported that if they had this more positive [00:22:00] outlook, they did not actually have the depressive symptoms or anxiety symptoms we were seeing with others. So I thought that was really fascinating.
[00:22:05] Russ Altman: Does that give you anything actionable as a practitioner?
Because it’s hard to affect how people are gonna interpret, right? So the ones who are, I don’t want to u, I’m not sure I should use the word lucky. The ones who had this positive attitude towards the, uh, towards the pandemic seemed to have done well. Do you think there’s an opportunity to kind of, for those who were thinking of it, perhaps as a punishment and as something that was very negative. Is there an [00:22:30] opportunity to move them?
[00:22:31] Rania Awaad: Yes, and I think this is where I was really inspired. In fact, the nonprofit I was referring to was born during the pandemic because it occurred to me, wow, we have all this research, academic work, clinical work, but it’s not really reaching the community, the average everyday person. And so this, the goal here was, well, let’s try to actually integrate aspects of spirituality and faith as long as the person wants that.
[00:22:52] Russ Altman: Okay.
[00:22:52] Rania Awaad: Right? Right. We kind of integrate that in with their clinical and their mental health kind of outcomes, and it actually turned out to work very well for this patient.
[00:22:59] Russ Altman: [00:23:00] Okay. That’s wonderful. So that’s great news, so that’s great. And so now let’s go to the nonprofit. You said that the name was Maristan and it said that it, the word itself has some significance. So please tell us more about the word and about the roots of this nonprofit that you set up.
[00:23:14] Rania Awaad: Yeah, thank you. This so Maristan is the latinized term that comes from the original Farsi or Persian term Bimaristan. And Bimar is the first half of that word, and it means illness or someone who’s sick, a patient.
And Stan like the, all the countries that end with the word [00:23:30] stand is a location. So it’s basically where a sick person goes, as in to say a hospital. And the Arabic term is Dar-ul-Shifa, which also roughly translates into a little bit closer to the meaning a place of healing and abode of healing. So they were more than just hospitals. They were actually healing centers. And what’s so fascinating to me, this is in the research that I was telling you about, going through the early primary texts and so on. I came then to realize after I. You know, bumped into and read a lot of these scholars works. I thought to [00:24:00] myself, well it was it all just theory they were writing about mental health or that they actually put it into practice. And that’s when I discovered the Maristan. That everywhere Islam sort of spread, yes they built mosques everywhere they went and schools and so on. But Maristans were also a trademark. They were built in every society in which there was a Muslim majority,
[00:24:19] Russ Altman: uh,
[00:24:19] Rania Awaad: presence. And this healing center was so unique because unlike other hospitals, parallel and prior to them in other civilizations, we don’t see proof that there was psychiatric [00:24:30] medicalized psychiatric care within those hospitals and that was really neat. So psych wards literally are in these mirror stands and that I was fascinated. And now really talking about rewriting the history of psychology ’cause you can’t find this in any of your Psych 1 0 1 ,
[00:24:44] Russ Altman: Right.
[00:24:45] Rania Awaad: Books at all.
[00:24:46] Russ Altman: Uh, just out of curiosity, is that the word that’s currently used in any of the languages for hospital or is that, was that a word that fell out of use?
[00:24:54] Rania Awaad: So it’s continued to use in certain places. So even till now, people will, depending on the language [00:25:00] they speak, they might still use that actual term, be Maristan or Bimaristan or Dar-ul-Shifa. Um, there’s other terms that have replaced it in modern languages, but yes, it’s still a recognizable term.
[00:25:10] Russ Altman: I’m also struck by your use of the phrase healing center because as you know very well, there’s a concern even among those of us in modern medicine that hospitals and clinics have become very technical and medicalized and have lost the idea of the patient as a whole person who needs whole person healing.
Uh, that’s pretty [00:25:30] obvious actually to most other people who are not medical professionals. Uh, and so it’s, I’m guessing that there’s a model here that it’s extremely attractive for our modern day to kind of bring the human holistic part of healing back. We see sometimes we see this, especially like in cancer treatment where, you know, uh, we know in many cases we’re not gonna be able to cure the patient, but there’s still many, many things we can do to give them quality of life and quality of mental health. Um, so I guess my question is, are there [00:26:00] learnings there that we’re gonna be able to take and bring to our modern, highly technical medicalized health system?
[00:26:07] Rania Awaad: Well, the book that I’m currently writing, and a few others allowed.
[00:26:10] Russ Altman: Oh my goodness.
[00:26:12] Rania Awaad: Is actually called something to the effect of Maristans as a model for modern, um, healthcare and treatment. I mean, that’s kind of the, the goal, my goal here. My goal is, I mean, it’s a bit of a pie in the sky goal, but in a, you know, let’s say 10 year kind of goal, I would really hope, especially, especially to psychiatric care.
[00:26:29] Russ Altman: Yes.[00:26:30]
[00:26:30] Rania Awaad: By really all medical care, is to really bring that holistic healing concept back. And that means that you’re really looking at all five senses. The mind, body, soul is part of the conversation and you’re really making sure that it’s not just, you know, pills that are taken or even just talk therapy in psychiatry, but really everything, all of the senses are healed.
[00:26:49] Russ Altman: Yes. And I know that the patients want this and it’s not hard for them to see that ,that is often missing.
So, okay, so in our, in the final minute, this Maristan idea and [00:27:00] what you’ve now told me is these are among the first recorded, uh, psychiatric units.
Um, what were they like? Um, because we have many, many images of very bad treatment of our, uh, mentally ill, you know, in asylums basically prisons, uh, did the maritan give us, please say Yes. A better model for how this might go?
[00:27:21] Rania Awaad: These are not prisons at all. If anything, this is what I’ve spent my sabbatical doing is actually going and visiting many of the ones that are still standing today in [00:27:30] Turkey, Cairo, other places. There are beautiful Islamic, um, basically when you think about construction, Islamic architecture is very beautiful to begin with.
And so we’re talking about water fountains, we’re talking about greenery, we’re talking about really kind of even the acoustics to make sure sound therapy and music therapy…
[00:27:47] Russ Altman: oh my goodness.
[00:27:47] Rania Awaad: …is used in addition to the talk therapy and of course the medications. So just even you walk into this place and you feel healed just by walking in.
[00:27:56] Russ Altman: Thanks to Rania Awaad, that was the Future of Muslim mental health. [00:28:00]
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