Health care is a big topic at the moment, and mental health is probably the most controversial field of health out there. Often, the picture is painted that those in favor of psychiatry and mental health awareness are the scientific minded secularists, and the religious fundamentalists are trying to hold advancement back, but that is far from the case.
In reality, those in favor and against mental health education and treatment are much more mixed. While some of the larger religious institutions may seem to be lagging on their stance about mental illness, they are not monolithic and there are many secular individuals who don’t believe in the effectiveness of mental health treatment.
According to Dr. David H. Rosmarin, those religious individuals who are depicted as skeptics to mental illness are actually the most trusting in treatments, because of their faith in God.
Rosmarin, Ph.D., McLean Hospital clinician and instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, examined 159 patients in a recently-published study over a year at the Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program, and the results showed that believing in God increases your chances of a better outcome in mental health treatment.
“The highest belief vs. no belief in God resulted in a 25-35 percent better result in positive patient outcomes. Patients with more faith in God had more faith in the treatment — and this helped them get better,” Rosmarin told The Huffington Post. Roughly 60 percent of the patients were dealing wit depression, 12 percent with bipolar disorder, and the others were a variety of issues like anxiety.
What is holding this back from being a major change in our understanding of mental health? According to Rosmarin, it is lack of interest in the field. Few of Rosmarin’s colleagues pay any attention to the spirituality of their patients, as though it were completely irrelevant.
Thankfully, the interest in studies surrounding faith and mental health as well as the mind-body connection is slowly growing with each new study like Rosmarin’s that proves the deep connection between faith and mental wellness.