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Farha Abbasi - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Farha Abbasi

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry | Michigan State University


Farha Abbasi's areas of interest are cultural psychiatry and teaching how to provide culturally appropriate care to Muslim patients.






Dr. Farha Abbasi on Islamophobia in the United States During the Trump Era IMANA Webinar: Mental health stigma by Dr. Farha Abbasi 2019 Welcome to the Muslim Mental Health Conference Resiliency in Muslim American Students - Farha Abbasi, MD and Zain Shamoon



Dr. Farha Abbasi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Michigan State University and core faculty member of the Muslim Studies Program. She is from Pakistan and settled in the United States in the year 2000 with her three daughters. In January of 2009, Dr. Abbasi received the American Psychiatric association SAMSHA Minority fellowship. She used the grant money to create awareness about cultural competency, to redefine it as not just tolerance but acceptance.

Her areas of interest are cultural psychiatry and teaching medical students how to provide culturally appropriate care to Muslim patients. She works directly with Muslim American community to encourage integration rather than isolation from mainstream society. In addition to her efforts to build bridges between the two cultures, Dr. Abbasi work as a psychiatrist has led her to address the barriers that stigmatize and silence mental health.

She is the founding director of the Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference. In 2018 the tenth conference was held at the United State Institute Of Peace in Washington, DC. In addition, she launched a Global Muslim Mental Health Conference in Malaysia and Jordan. She is also the managing editor of the Journal of Muslim Mental Health and Director of the Muslim Mental Health Consortium, Michigan State University.

Dr. Abbasi has received numerous awards for her service to the community and promoting mental health. Dr. Abbasi was an Honoree, National Alliance of Mentally Ill, and American Psychiatric Foundation Award for Promoting Minority Mental Health and Globie award winner, Office of International Students Services, Community Service Award by All Pakistanis Physician of North America and Community Service Award by Pakistan Women Association of Michigan.

She has served on many boards and committees including Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities American Psychiatric Association. She currently chairs the Mental Health Task Force for the Mayor of Lansing, Michigan.

She works relentlessly and tirelessly towards one goal: Learning to coexist and go beyond our differences to reach the common point of peace and prosperity.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (2)

Muslim Mental Health

Muslim American Community

Accomplishments (5)

Inspiration Award Winner, Community Engagement category, Michigan State University Center for Gender in Global Context (professional)


Mayor's Town Hero Award (Lansing MI) (professional)


American Psychiatric Foundation Award (professional)


Honoree, National Alliance of Mentally Ill (professional)


Globie Award Winner, MSU Office for International Students and Scholars (professional)


Education (3)

Michigan State University: MPH

Michigan State University: Psychiatry Residency Program 2010

Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences: M.B.B.S. 1989

Affiliations (4)

  • American Psychiatric Association
  • South Asian Women Association
  • Michigan Psychiatric Society
  • American Psychiatric Association

News (3)

Pakistani-American psychiatrist to be honoured as one of top US women faith leaders

The News International  online


Talking to the ambassador, Dr Abbasi said that she has been working for the past 15 years not only to reinforce the efficacy of faith and cultural-based solutions in addressing mental health issues but also to remove the stigma that typically surrounds mental health issues, especially in developing countries.

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Dr. Farha Abbasi earns national recognition for work on minority mental health

Michigan State University  online


She calls this recognition on the national stage “humbling, validating and rejuvenating.” She continues, “Visibility is viability, and getting this award will help bring focus on the stigma and shame that silences mental illnesses in minority settings.”

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Facebook changes its corporate name to Meta: MSU professors react

The State News  online


Farha Abbasi, an assistant professor of psychiatry at MSU, says people turn toward faith and community in times of crisis and trauma. “From an Islamic perspective, there are some themes that (are) seen in moments of crisis. Wellness becomes important, welfare becomes important, but then bringing it all back to the community,” explains Abbasi.

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Event Appearances (3)

“Supporting Mental Health and Well-Being of College Students of Color”

(2021) Steve Fund  Webinar

“Understanding and Assessing Behavior Through Various Methods”

(2021) National University of Science and Technology (NUST-Pakistan)  

“To be or not to be a Psychiatrist, that is the Question?”

(2021) PsychSIGN Region 4 Conference  

Journal Articles (3)

Muslim Women’s Ethical Engagement and Emotional Coping in Post-Election United States

Journal of Muslim Mental Health

2019 Muslim women, especially those wearing headscarves or hijab, are targets of anti-Muslim stereotypical rhetoric and violent attacks in the United States, with expected adverse effects on their mental wellbeing. This pilot research examines Muslim religious practice related to frequency of Islamophobic experiences, socio-emotional/mental distress, and coping strategies among American Muslim women since the 2016 American presidential election. This is a mixed methods study surveying adult Muslim women (n= 35) living in the United States. Quantitative analyses included overall frequency and percent differences in various experiences for Muslim American women who always wear hijab (n= 22) compared to those that do not always wear hijab (n= 13). Qualitative data analyzed were derived from a focus group and from essays by survey respondents. All respondents (100%) reported a perceived increase in Islamophobia since the presidential election, and 26.5%(n= 9) of respondents reported altering their religious practice as a result of the political climate since the 2016.

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Virtual-Reality Videos to Relieve Depression

International Conference on Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality

2018 Depression is a serious public health concern. The problem is further exacerbated due to social stigma and stereotypical attitudes. Thus, many people with depression keep the suffering to themselves and avoid seeking professional psychological help. Virtual reality applications offer a way to provide a virtual counseling experience without being stigmatized. In this study, we produced 360-degree virtual reality videos in which a person is shown sharing stories about his experience of living with depression. The participants (n = 12), with mild and moderate levels of depression, were invited in the lab and watched the 360-degree videos using Oculus Rift. After each video, participants were asked to say-out-loud their personal experiences about living with depression. We hypothesize that such private and confidential experience of talking about one’s illness will help the users to express their feelings without the fear of being stigmatized. Results show that participants expressed more positive emotions, compared with negative emotions, after watching the 360-degree videos. Participants also expressed high positive attitude toward help seeking behavior. However, the study did not find an above average behavioral intention to seek help. Qualitative data gathered from the thought-listing exercise provides further insights about the effectiveness of virtual reality videos to promote help seeking behavior among depressed individuals. The study offers implications for improving mental health help-seeking, specifically on college campuses.

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Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry


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