The Role of Spirituality in Family Wellness & Mental Health

Spirituality as a concept has been explained to mean a set of beliefs and ideologies that develop over time from a person’s definition of life and existence.

It explains the fact that there are powers that be, lying in the realm of the unseen, dictating the dos and donts and directing the affairs of men. Pargament KI and Mahoney A, (2011), have both claimed that, for many, spirituality involves searching to discover what is sacred, and this journey can take either traditional pathways (e.g., organized religions) or nontraditional avenues (e.g., involvement in 12-step groups, meditation, or retreat centers).

A very recent question being asked has always been that, how potent is the effect of spirituality on a family’s mental health?

And in providing an answer to this issue, recent medical studies have shown that spiritual people who are less prone to self-destructive behaviors like suicide, smoking, addiction to narcotics and alcohol abuse, do have less stress and a feeling of greater satisfaction in life. Further, psychological practices such as Calgary Canada based Insight Psychological suggest that Family Counselling services are only one part of a comprehensive wellness program.

Although, a bulk of the research carried out in trying to find the nexus between the place of spirituality and mental health in individuals and families have always involved the old and the aged in the society, without much consideration of children and adolescents, however, the results of the various research have given a clue into a possible tie between spirituality and mental health for people of all ages in the family and the society at large.

More recently, studies have shown that a combined effect of religion and faith have both helped to fight mental and physical diseases in the family through the following means;

  • Offering of social supports like religious outreach to families, groups, and individuals on health and wellness
  • Improving coping skills through prayer and a philosophy that all things have a purpose
  • Effective prayer sessions from churches and well-wishers for patients suffering mental and physical illness and needing medical care and treatment.

Religious and spiritual beliefs are an important part of how people deal with life’s joys and hardships. Faith can go a long way in giving people a feeling of purpose and guidelines for living. When families face tough circumstances, including mental and physical health challenges, their religious beliefs can help to fight feelings of helplessness, restore meaning to life situations, and assist them to regain a sense of control over their problems.

For some families, spirituality can be a powerful and important source of strength. In the words of Debra Chew, while delivering a paper titled “Are spirituality and prayer key to mental health?”, “I am familiar with the importance of spiritual care in dealing with mental illness, as close members of my family have dealt with this issue for as long as I can remember…” All of these, and much more are a pointer to the fact that spirituality plays a crucial role family wellness and mental health.

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