Faith and Mental Health

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love                                 Ephesian 4:16 (New Living)

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), rates of depression and anxiety in the general population have been steadily increasing over the past 10 years. Especially among teens, depression and suicidal thoughts have been increasing at an alarming rate. The COVID-19 pandemic receives some blame for this, and this seems right.

I know the difference between correlation and causality. In research, just because two variables are rising in a close parallel, this does not mean causality- that one causes the other. Similarly, just because there are correlations also does not necessarily mean that the data specifically relate to one another.

Given these caveats, I contend that it is possible, that the increasing rates of anxiety and depression, and the lowering rates of both church attendance and expressed faith among the U.S. population may have some relationship. As people lose faith and hope in the future, they have more depression and a sense of loss that they cannot readily explain.  

I would just ask people to consider that a sense of spiritual connection, and belief that there is some meaning in this world beyond just what we see, is important in maintain good mental health. Indeed, as I have said often, Physical, Spiritual, and Emotional/Mental Health all must be considered together in an assessment of overall healthy functioning.

So, just a thought. Maybe as we lose a spiritual perspective, we may also be losing our mental health.

Prayer: Lord, help us to seek health in ALL dimensions of our being, Amen

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