Monday | Muharram 21, 1440 AH | October 1st, 2018
Earlier this month, the Muslim community of Herndon, Virginia was stunned to discover that Noera Ayaz, a 42-year-old lawyer and mother of two, had killed her two children and then turned the gun on herself.
As the horrific news spread to communities outside Virginia, Muslims across the U.S. struggled to understand suicide by one of their own.
One of the experts called in to help the Muslim community deal with its shock and grief revealed to Sound Vision last week that in the last six months, she has offered six of these post-suicide interventions across four different states.
Among young Muslims, the situation seems to be no better. Suicide was the fifth most common reason people called or texted Sound Vision’s Crisis Text Line, a crisis hotline aimed at Muslim youth who can text SALAM to the number 741741 for help.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state. In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise.
While varying factors lead individuals to die this way, for Muslims, the shock is compounded by commonly-held, and sometimes erroneous beliefs, about the Islamic perspective on suicide.
Also, the connection to mental health struggles needs to be urgently addressed in every Muslim community. According to one the experts we interviewed about this topic, 90 percent of suicides are linked to diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness.
This week, we hope to shed light on how we can address suicide and mental illness head on. As one of the Muslims we interviewed who recently attempted suicide emphasized, “It is our responsibility to make sure our community is healthy.”
Sound Vision Team
If you or somone you know is considering suicide or having suicidal thoughts, please text SALAM to 741741. This is a confidential, free, hotline that will connect you with a trained counselor you can talk to.
Suicide in the Muslim community (NEW)
By: Samana Siddiqui
When a Muslim dies by suicide, the shock and grief often give way to confusion about why he or she would take such a drastic step. In this article, experts and one Muslim who recently attempted suicide share how to handle this tragedy and what Muslims can do as a community to help prevent it. >>>Read More
“My daughter had suicidal ideation in Ramadan. She was fasting. She came up to me at 11 at night to say that she needs to be taken to the hospital because she can't control her urges. I had no idea what was going on,” said Fatima* in an interview with Sound Vision. There are no exact numbers on how many Muslims, and specifically young Muslims, die by suicide. However, Muslim youth are no strangers to it. >>>Read More
By: Imam Malik Mujahid
While youth engagement has been part of Sound Vision’s motto of “helping tomorrow’s Muslims today” since its inception 30 years ago, it took a Harvard University-connected psychiatrist, Dr. William Slaughter, to point it out to us. He reached out to me earlier this year, inviting me to speak in a mental health conference. He stressed how important Sound Vision’s work was for the mental health of young Muslims. >>>Read More
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