Mental Health: Spirituality Or Science? -By Caleb Onah


Mental health has emerged as a crucial topic of discussion in recent years, prompting many of us and professionals alike to seek effective ways to promote emotional well-being. In this pursuit, two seemingly contrasting approaches often come to the forefront: spirituality or faith and science. While spirituality tends to delve into the realm of the intangible, focusing on beliefs, faith, and higher powers, science relies on empirical evidence and rational explanations. However, it is essential to recognise that these two paths need not be mutually exclusive. Rather, integrating both spirituality and science can provide a comprehensive framework for addressing mental health concerns holistically.

Interestingly, debate has raged over the years and how we view the role of faith or spirituality and science in the treatment of mental illness. At the heart of the dispute is over inhumane treatment and rites for several categories of Individuals and groups. Many have asserts that a mental health evaluation is sometimes required as part of a mental health diagnosis and healing process, while other have postulated that, it isn’t always ‘necessary’.

Mental problems such as depression and drug addiction can be a sign of a spiritual void in our life. Also, prayer is very similar to CBT, in a way to pay attention to our inner experience, get rid of distractions, and focus on more positive thoughts. Expressing gratitude shifts the focus from how bad to how good. Beliefs, religion and spirituality can have a positive effect on our mental health, and in some ways have a similar effect.

For instance, religion and spirituality or faith can help us overcome stress by creating peace, purpose, and forgiveness. However, the benefits are often different due to different characteristics. Trust as a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves — it helps us to look inside ourselves, understand ourselves, and find better answers about how these attributes fit into the rest of our lives and world.

In other words, it helps us understand our interpretation of the meaning of life. Faith also includes conduct that is good for the mind and body and has a positive impact on mental and emotional health. Respectful exploration of spirituality can help us find solace, meaning, and guidance as we navigate our mental health journey.

It is important to note, when we feels conflicted or challenged by religious issues, doubts, anxiety, or symptoms of depression can occur. People who question their faith may feel uncertain, feeling anxious or fearful of divine retribution for their doubts, especially when their faith is based on belief in a punishing god. Some people may use drugs or alcohol to cope or harm themselves or have suicidal thoughts.

There is no doubt that religious practice greatly contributes to physical and mental health. Regular religious activity relieves depression, boosts self-esteem, and increases marital and marital happiness also increases life expectancy, increases the chances of recovery, and reduces the incidence of many diseases.

But it’s important to note that our beliefs can take the form of pills, and even if we think they’re not good for us, they’re sneakily killing us faster than we think because of overdependence and ignoring professional counsel and advice. In the field of mental health, professionals play a crucial role in facilitating a balanced approach that respects both spirituality and science. By embracing a patient-centred perspective, mental health practitioners can acknowledge and incorporate their clients’ spiritual beliefs and practices into the therapeutic process.

It is important to note that the choice to include spirituality in one’s mental health journey is deeply personal. While some individuals may find solace and support in religious or spiritual practices, others may prefer to rely solely on scientific approaches. Ultimately, the decision lies with the individual and mental health professionals should respect and support their choices, guiding them towards the most effective strategies for their well-being

Personally, I feel over relying on religious alone, discrimination and persecution can negatively affect our well-being causing further health deterioration at certain instance. Some of us may experience anxiety, depression and stress as well as physical abuse, which can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder and personal harm. That is why as a practitioner, interplay or interdependency between religion or faith and treatment is very important for optimal healing and wholesome wellbeing.

When it comes to mental health, the dichotomy of spirituality versus science is an oversimplification. Recognising that spirituality and science can co-exist, complement, and enrich one another offers a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to mental well-being. By embracing the power of belief systems, the mind-body connection, community.


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