TL;DR: There is a strong correlation between faith and mental health, according to a recently published Gallup report.
“Faith and Wellness: The Worldwide Connection Between Spirituality,” is a meta-analysis of Gallup’s global poll data that links faith to better mental health outcomes for people around the world. The data was collected over 10 years (2012-2022) in 140 countries for a total of nearly1.5 million respondents.
Now that’s a lot of people.
Data indexes measuring positive emotions, social life, optimism, and community engagement all point to a strong, positive relationship between the importance of faith in someone’s daily life and their overall mental health. Not only are people of faith more likely to report a better quality of life overall, they are also more likely to be engaged with their communities and have solid support systems in place with people they can turn to in time of need.
As part of the research, Gallup partnered with Radiant Foundation to review existing literature and conduct in-depth interviews with leaders in the field to develop a new framework identifying five key components of the positive relationship between faith and mental health:
- Positive coping and a sense of purpose in life.
- Faith-based social connections.
- Community and civic engagement.
- Structural stability.
- Workplace support of holistic wellbeing.
“We are facing a worldwide mental health crisis, and we can’t afford to overlook any aspect of life or activity that can improve wellbeing,” said Aaron Sherinian, Radiant Foundation’s CEO. “Until recently, most data of this kind asked only elementary questions about spiritual practice. This more expansive measure will help us truly understand how factors of faith can strengthen mental health. This study gives us a new framework for how those factors are connected and a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of religious observance, spirituality and well-being.”
To learn more about the research linking faith and mental health, read the full report here.
(NOTE: This article is not a diagnosis. Always seek out a qualified counselor for advice on treatment plans)
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