Faith can provide multifaceted benefits for those who live with the daily struggles of mental illness. In the midst of these challenges, cultivating spiritual health can lead to better mental health.
A wealth of research points to the connection between mental health and spiritual health. Faith has been shown to aid in recovery—for instance, a study at McLean Hospital found that those who believed in God were twice as likely to respond to treatment for mental illness, having lower levels of depression and anxiety and greater overall well-being. And, faith can even help to prevent mental health struggles: A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that individuals who said that religion or spirituality was very important to them were much less likely to experience an episode of major depression.
The Power of Prayer
Practices like prayer and meditation have been shown to lower stress and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. They can reduce the physical symptoms of stress (for example lowering heart rate and blood pressure), as well as provide a sense of peace. Prayer has also been shown to increase self-control, which can make it easier to stick to a treatment plan. In addition, prayer can increase trust in God’s care and provision, helping those who are struggling find refuge in Him.
A Sense of Community
Those who deal with mental health challenges often struggle to form and maintain relationships, and for many, isolation compounds the hurdles they face. Accepting, caring communities of faith can prevent loneliness and provide connection—and in turn, can help ease the burden of living with mental illness. They can be places of encouragement and support, as well as sources of practical help and listening ears.
Structure and Purpose
Being an active member of a church or other faith-centered group can help those who manage mental illnesses establish healthy routines. For example, attending a weekly church service or Bible study can provide structure and encouragement to practice consistent self-care.
In addition, being a part of a community of faith often provides opportunities to serve, from offering a simple word of encouragement to someone who’s going through a rough time to being a part of an organized ministry in the community. The ability to help others can give a sense of purpose as well as serve as a motivating factor to follow through on a treatment plan.
The Well Community is the only organization in the Dallas area that addresses the spiritual aspects of mental health from a Christian perspective. It provides not only a place to belong for those who live with serious mental illnesses, but also an environment where they’re encouraged in faith and have opportunities to serve. Through Bible studies, Thursday Night Life weekly worship services and twice-yearly spiritual retreats, The Well helps members find refuge in faith in the midst of the storms of mental illness.
Your gift will help The Well Community continue to come alongside those struggling with mental illnesses, addressing these challenges with faith and hope.
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