New Study Reveals What Religion Can Do for Youth Mental Health - Couldn't Come at a Better Time


The number of people struggling with mental health issues has been a topic of increasingly keen interest since COVID has come on the scene.

It’s a sad fact that about half of the people who struggle with mental illness either delay getting the help they need, or don’t seek it out at all because of the complication of the stigma, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Many people fear losing their job and how they will be treated by others if their struggle becomes known.

In fact, many people who struggle with mental illness feel that the “shame, ostracism and marginalization” that come with the stigma are worse than the actual condition, according to The Lancet.

In addition to the stigma, many people feel that there is a mental health crisis in the United States today.

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In a survey conducted by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 90 percent of Americans feel that there is not only a mental health crisis being experienced by adults, but also teens and children.

Of the people surveyed, about half of those said that they had a family member who was struggling so intensely with mental health challenges that their struggling family member was engaged in self-harming behaviors.

This year has brought about an increase in the number of people who have decided to reach out for help in regard to mental health challenges.

The primary reason for this is because of how COVID exacerbated the stress and personal issues with which people were already struggling.

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In a poll conducted by Kintsugi Hope and Christian think tank Theos, it was discovered that only 35 percent of Christians who struggle with mental health issues feel supported by their church.

Perhaps the reason for that is that 91 percent of church leaders do not have any training with regard to mental health.

That being said, perhaps it shouldn’t be any great surprise that 56 percent of those interviewed in the poll said their church rarely or never talks about mental health.

Even youth and young adults are feeling the struggle.

Springtide Research found that 47 percent of young people are either moderately or extremely depressed, and 61 percent of young people feel adults don’t have any idea how much they are struggling with their mental health.

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The holidays can be an especially difficult time for people struggling with mental health issues because of the stress, and also sometimes painful memories many people have in connection to holiday-related activities.

The good news is that a healthy, supportive church community and healthy religious activity can actually help people, especially youth, to cope with the stress and anxiety they encounter today. And youth are often willing to discuss the topic of mental health if an adult gets the conversation started.

The study also found that 73 percent of religious young people felt that their religious and spiritual practices had a positive impact on their mental health, and 66 percent felt that their spiritual life mattered for their mental health.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.

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