Friday, November 21, 2008

Churches Are Bad for Your Mind

It's sad, really.

I'm a fan of churches, and I think that they have a place in a healthy society. We neglect our spirituality only at a terrible cost.

The problem is that church authorities, like everyone else, can end up causing problems when they're not careful about applying their authority. Like, for example, if someone went to their church for help with a mental illness and was told that there was nothing wrong with them.

A study at Baylor University found that not only do more people turn to the clergy first for help when in mental distress, but also that the church frequently discourages them from seeing a medical health professional.

Depression is serious business. So are other mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. And yet when 293 Christians finally found the courage to try and seek help for their problems, more than 32% of them were dismissed; told that they didn't "really" have a mental illness, that it was just "personal sin, lack of faith, or demonic involvement."

Why do Priests hate Doctors?

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2 comments:

[mr joan croft] said...

It's interesting that you posted about this. My father is a prime example.
He accepted Jesus and all that about a decade ago. Thing is, a couple years after that, he started predicting the end of the world and coming up with a lot of other hair-brained ideas.
When my mother finally had him Baker-acted, the doctors there said he was prime for bipolar and schizophrenia disorders. My dad was released and he now travels the world, waiting for the coming apocalypse, that always changes from one theory to another as to when.
He also hates doctors, and he believes God speaks to him.
With medication, he could function in society and probably be a decent father for my sibling and I.... But instead, he takes the biblical route, and seeks the wisdom of priests.

Stanley! said...

I'm sorry to hear about your father.

I really don't see why religion and science can't work together on important issues like mental health.

Especially with schizophrenia which has a nasty cycle of patients getting better on medication, deciding that since they're getting better they don't need the medication anymore, and then backsliding to a point where they're too out of control to want to go back on the medication.

In those situations, you want all the help you can get steering them back on track, and getting religious authorities on your side could be a big help.

But it probably won't happen...

The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
 
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