Junger, in his book Tribe, notes how history has never witnessed such high rates of depression and mental illness. As opposed to the traditional tribal culture where everyone is involved in a meaningful community role and purpose, modern Western culture, he adds, and I totally agree, makes us feel un-necessary and unimportant, which is one of the main reasons behind modern-day affective disorders. Dr. Gabor Maté sees that a person with schizophrenia in a tribal culture holds a better chance of survival and well being than one following the Western medical model. Our view on mental illness cannot be removed from the person’s context and culture. Our Western materialistic society focuses on achievements and possessions cutting off emotional, social, and spiritual needs, which, according to Maté, separates us from ourselves and paves the road for pathology. Loneliness, is radically different from solitude. Loneliness is not about being alone; it is rather about the lack of belonging and the feeling of unworthiness. Belonging is a stepping-stone to our independence, freedom, and maturity. Our self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth are major components of how we perceive and interact with our surrounding. And, this self-worth is defined within the context of the whole community.
Taking a closer look at Western Muslim community, one notices the oppression, cultural stigma, and social isolation enforced upon people living with mental illness. Attributing pathology to lack of faith is a way of blaming the victims for their own affliction. Sometimes, society could be more coercive towards people with disability than their physiological or physical limitation. Initiatives working at eliminating social barriers and stigmas are so much welcome, they will allow disabled people to better integrate into the society and assume better responsibility for their own life. But, are they truly authentic?
Foucault, the famous French philosopher and social theorist, argues that coercion is no longer a direct phenomenon; it is rather a series of subtle disciplinary practices, which gently causes the oppressed to internalize their own oppression. People start to discipline their own actions to comply with the ‘norm’ whatever the coercive power defines as ‘norm.’ The process happens in such a subtle way that most people do not even notice they are changing (like the Japanese cultural change discussed earlier). The hegemony of normalcy becomes a tyranny enforced by media ads, movies, novels, and the like. In a way, eugenic practices are still applied to date albeit in a much subtle and ‘socially acceptable’ methodology. The most affected are people “located at the intersections of difference.” Without realizing it, this difference, or ‘deviation from the norm’ becomes their identity. Replacing normalcy by ‘diversity,’ as the new trend is going here in Canada, does not quite solve the dilemma of mental illness discrimination either. In an open global economy where consumerism and lifestyle define one’s identity, the diversity picture does not make room for non-consumer mentally or physically disabled individuals.
If we are to tackle the mental illness issue, we need to go beyond the psychiatric, genetic, biomedical, and even psychotherapeutic models, taking societal, cultural, intersectional, political, spiritual/religious, economic, and historical sides into account. We need to find alternatives and collectively work at raising human awareness.
 Bradley Lewis, Depression: Integrating Science, Culture, and Humanities (New York: Routledge, 2012), 73.
 Sebastian Junger, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (New York: Harpercollins Publishers, 2016), 10.
 Gabor Maté, The Myth of Normal (2016). From YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_j5mmBa4mw (accessed October 30, 2017).
 Gabor Maté, The Myth of Normal.
 Jean Vanier, Becoming Human, (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2010), 35.
 Sima Barmania,“Islam and depression,” The Lancet 4 (2017): 669.
 Tom Shakespeare, “The Social Model of Disability.”
 Mohammed Ghaly, “Disability in the Islamic Tradition,” Religion Compass 10, no. 6 (2016): 150.
 Michel Foucault, “Docile bodies” in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (Vintage Books, New York, NY, 1979).
 Lennard J. Davis, “Introduction: Normality, Power, and Culture,” 10.
 Nirmala Erevelles and Andrea Minear, "Unspeakable Offenses,” 359.
 Lennard J. Davis, The End of Normal: Identity in a Biocultural Era (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2014), 1-14.