Harvard Study – Faith improves mental health outcomes - Part 1
Bottom Line: The CDC’s recent study found a 51% year over year increase in attempted suicides for girls between the ages of 12-17. The study continues to gain attention in news media which is important, however I’ve yet to hear anyone discuss real solutions to fit the epidemic. In 2018,Harvard produced the most compelling study to date on the factors that relate to youth depression, violence, substance abuse and suicide. The study entitled: Religious upbringing linked to better health and well-being during early adulthood was never broadly covered by news media or for that matter even widely publicized by Harvard. That remains unfortunate but the information is as relevant as ever. Here’s what the study found referencing my original reporting on it.
There is a common thread that runs through well intended people across the ideological spectrum today. Mental health issues are a top concern. Brought into focus through numerous mass shootings in recent years, across every age group, gender, ethnic background and ideological tendency, we’re concerned about identifying, treating and restricting access to weapons. Clearly the best of all solutions would be to reduce mental illness in our society generally.
For over 20 years I’ve voiced a belief that plays directly into this story. The further removed God is from our society, the worse the outcomes are and regardless of one’s religious views, society benefits from the tenants of faith – even atheists. Harvard’s study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, demonstrated powerful results. Here’s your headline. Children raised with religious activity have better physical and mental health as they age. Here were a few highlights:
By the age of 20 those raised with religious practices average being...
- 18% happier
- 30% more likely to help others
- 33% less likely to engage in substance abuse
What’s more is that those who fared best were those who prayed daily. In other words, having faith in one’s life in any capacity provided benefit, the more involved with one’s faith one was, the greater the benefit. This isn’t to say that if all children were raised in religious upbringings, we’d end all mental health issues but it’s evident it would have the potential to be an enormous catalyst. Remarkably, an accredited Harvard study on the biggest concern in our society today, has largely been ignored by news media and education establishments. Once again, the most pervasive form of bias is omitting information. In part two of this story, I’ll demonstrate the connection between the removal of God, faith, from our society and the increase in mental health issues in our society.