I kind of hate it when a (well-meaning–for sure) muslim sternly says to another muslim who suffers from depression (in their conversation); are you praying 5 times a day/your 5 daily prayers? (as in, are you keeping up with the salah? If not, that is the reason why you suffer from depression.)
No muslim in his right mind would say to his brother/sister who suffers from pneumonia or the flu or high blood pressure: Are you praying 5 times a day, to treat that? But they don’t think twice to give that advice to a depression sufferer.
Depression is a medical condition (which can be 100 times more debilitating and overall a much worse experience than pneumonia or the flu or high blood pressure, or any other ‘physical’ disease…). It needs treatment (whether therapy, medication, or otherwise)..
Depression/mental illness is not the result of not praying….I know, because I developed depression and other mental health issues at 13, and at 13, I was praying 5 daily prayers, and a lot of nawafil, too…. 😦
Depression/mental illness is an illness… No different from bronchitis, diabetes, cancer, etc in that regard. But I know we still have a long way to go before this view is accepted by most people.
But there is no doubt that (though praying and mental illness are not related any more than pneumonia and praying 5 times is related), the five daily prayers will help a person, whatever sickness s/he suffers from… because it is a chance for the person to make du’a–to ask Allah s.w.t. for shifaa.
May Allah s.w.t. free us from not knowing, in regards to many of the issues surrounding mental illness, and alleviate us of our mental health issues…
And give us a happy life, in this life and in the akhira.