Study Shows Spirituality Protects Youth Mental Health   Leave a comment

Style: "70's look"The years between 15-25 are a time of questioning and great discovery, but I found them difficult. I had to deal with sickness, failure in my chosen career, chronic lack of self-worth along with indecision about an alternative career path, and loneliness.

During this time, I learned that spiritual activities kept me sane and ever hopeful that things would get better. Rather than restricting me or quashing my critical thinking, a daily communion with the divine and loving Principle of the universe, along with giving time to serving others, gave me a feeling of self-worth again and opened up previously unknown pathways. Things started to go right for me again, and I met and married a wonderful man to whom I’m still married.

My spiritual research has led me to understand that what I needed all along was to put into daily practice a growing understanding of the Divine being and my relationship to Him/Her.

Recent research results show that spirituality impacts directly on a range of health determinants, and has a positive impact upon social, mental and emotional health.

A 2008 study published in Australian Family Physician and written by Dr Craig Hassed, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice at Monash University in Melbourne, reported that “Spirituality is an important determinant of physical, emotional and social health and may, in some circumstances, be a central aspect of the management of some conditions.”

When commenting on escalating trends in youth suicide it suggests that “there may be too little attention being given to the ‘protective factors’ against mental illness, of which, particularly for adolescents, are connectedness and having a spiritual or religious dimension to one’s life” (Hassed, The role of spirituality in medicine, 2008).

It’s heartening to learn that a better understanding of youth mental health identifies spirituality as central. These research findings need to be guiding the treatment of anxiety and depression, not just in young people, but for all.

A spiritual or religious dimension to life will assist our youth as they seek (and find) their unique place in the world.

This article, Study Shows Spirituality Protects Youth Mental Health, is by Kay Stroud. Kay is a health writer focussing on the leading edge of consciousness, spirituality and health. Her articles can be found on Health4Thinkers.

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