The Role of Religion and Spirituality in Mental Health

  • Abdu’l-Missagh GhadirianEmail author
Living reference work entry


Although religion and medicine have historically been intertwined, this relationship with specific reference to mental health has long been neglected. Yet, for the majority of the world’s population, religion and spirituality play an important role in their lives. These populations face medical and mental health challenges that require the understanding and attention of health professionals. In this chapter, pursuant to a brief account of the history of the relationship between religion and health science, growing research is shared that demonstrates the influence of religiosity and spiritual perspectives on people’s ability to cope with mental disorders and related challenges. Given the subjects of both religion and spirituality (R/S) and mental health are vast and complex, the focus here is directed toward their relationship with respect to a few selected mental health issues: the spread of depression including rising suicide rates, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, and a few other disorders that have been less discussed, such as normal voice hearing versus auditory hallucinations, and the rising epidemic of loneliness and social isolation. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, new perspectives on substance abuse, and the opioid crisis are also reviewed. Both positive and negative aspects attributed to spirituality and religious beliefs in relation to mental health and well-being are discussed.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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