Health News: Faith and Mental Health

The American Psychological Association recently questioned Kenneth I. Pargament, PhD, about the role of spirituality and religion in a person’s mental health. “People often do turn to their faith as a source of solace and support in their most stressful moments,” Pargament said. “In fact, some groups such as the elderly and minority groups may be more likely to look to their faith for help than to family, friends, and the healthcare system.”

Studies have shown that relying on religion and spirituality is helpful to people when they are learning to grieve and cope—however it is more effective for some than others. It can also be problematic because life can shatter people spiritually, psychologically, socially, and physically. Thus it is important for psychologists and other healthcare providers to be aware of the dual nature of religion and spirituality.