The Role of Religion, Church and Spirituality in Mental Health


Most of us have seen friends and family, even when they are believers in God and go to church, battle with severe mental problems. Even though we all wish that they get deliverance in some supernatural way, it doesn’t seem to happen that way. 

Coming to the conversations in the church, till recently mental health issues had limited or awkward conversations. There used to be a tendency for pastors to avoid topics around mental illness unless there is an emergency situation that can’t be avoided.  

However, with the increased awareness and openness among the public and celebrity circles, many Christians and clergy members also feel comfortable to take the need for mental health support much more seriously. 

It is encouraging that many ministries and denominations are training pastors, elders and church members to handle emotional and psychological problems. One way we can be prepared is to better understand these realities in the society and among our churches.

In recent years, there has been increased interest among the researchers and scientists to understand the relationship between religion and spirituality and mental health. 

Study and Findings 

An interesting study led by the Department of Psychiatry, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center reviewed the capacity of religion and spirituality to benefit or harm the mental health of believers. 

Findings indicate that religion and spirituality can promote mental health through positive beliefs, community support and positive religious coping. Interestingly, research also brought to light that religion and spirituality can be damaging to mental health through negative religious coping, misunderstanding, miscommunication and negative beliefs. 

Considering the deep impact of church and religion on the mental wellbeing of the congregation, it is important to identify tools and resources that equip the church leadership to play a helpful support role. 

Research also found some promise for the role of church and religion when appropriate tools were used for the assessment of patients’ spiritual needs and when spiritual themes were incorporated into treatment.


The key takeaway from this is that religion and spirituality have the ability to promote or damage mental health. This knowledge, in turn, demands an increased awareness of religious matters by practitioners in the mental health field.

On the other hand, it opens up the need for awareness and training within our churches and religious institutions to provide much-needed support to people grappling with mental health issues on a daily basis not knowing who could help them. 

For more information on the role of religion and spirituality in mental health study check out:

Gambling Addiction and Christian Perspective

Problem gambling–or gambling addiction–includes all gambling behavior patterns that compromise, disrupt or damage personal, family or vocational pursuits according to the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Even though gambling is considered as a valid sport, gambling addiction is a serious issue and a psychological disorder affecting 1% of adult population in the United Stats of America. The diagnosis of the condition is based on the symptoms such as a constant preoccupation with gambling, frequent betting of money, feeling of irritability and unrest when attempting to stop and lack of control even when after experiencing serious consequences such as mounting debt, bankruptcy or family disruptions. 

People with Gambling Disorders describe similar experiences to those addicted to drugs and alcohol. Therapy is about recognizing the triggers that make the addict want to gamble.

Gambling has also been recognized by churches and religious organizations as a pervasive social problem. In the Bible there are a number of instances where gambling is mentioned as part of the culture. This age-old problem negatively affects lives, relationships, and families with miserable consequences.

The Christian community has role to understand the affect gambling addiction can have on individuals and families, its influence on faith, and available options for recovery.

Even though the problems directly associated with gambling are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, there are clear guiding principles about managing money and wealth. 

Christians are instructed to be good stewards of everything given by God including money, talents and time. The scripture that directly admonishes about money says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10). 

When gambling becomes a person’s focus, these Biblical principles that teach accountability get ignored. When it becomes an addiction affecting relationship with God and family, it becomes a spiritual issue. 

Along with traditional treatment options, such as group or individual counseling, and support groups, it is also helpful to incorporate spiritual elements. 

Rebuilding personal relationship with God can be an important step towards addiction recovery. Daily meditations and time in prayer can help to move the person’s focus away from gambling towards God and His grace. 

In addition, joining a small prayer or Bible study group in the local church is a great way to connect with spiritually minded group of people and will act as a support mechanism for recovery.

For resources on gambling help and treatment check out: 


Counseling in Christian rehabs works with basically the same modalities as a conventional rehab. However, there are some features that set them apart.

One notable feature is the inclusion of the Christian faith. Conventional rehabs actually have no business highlighting Christianity, they keep it strictly professional.

For a Christian rehab, there is a need to mention it. Addiction is not the only goal in a Christian rehab, there are other objectives like: Faith restoration, fellowship restoration and a host of others.

In Christian rehabs, counseling is a form of guidance that allows people to encounter the aspect of spirituality for which they should identify with.

This is unarguably the biggest difference between Christian rehab and secular rehab.

The endeavor to recover from the damage caused by addiction is the major goal. But the inclusion of the spiritual side is what sets them apart.

Christian counselors are just like other counselors. They are professionals who have a good understanding of how human emotions and thoughts work. They also understand the Christian faith, and this is why they are qualified to counsel in Christian rehab.

These set of counselors do not only advise and motivate you, they also pray for and with you.

Their method of follow-up is slightly different from the conventional style. Whilst keeping tabs on you, they also follow you up in prayers.

It is the responsibility of a counselor in a Christian rehab to introduce God to the individual if the person is not saved yet.

He or she needs to further explain and shed more light on God’s love, stating that as they receive him, they become transformed from within.

One important point you should note is, addiction takes you further away from God. It soils your fellowship but your relationship remains intact.

To wrap it up, it would interest you to know that, counselors in Christian rehab also handle mental health problems adeptly, just as they would treat addiction.

A counselor who has been certified to be of good standing in the Christian faith, is qualified to work in a Christian rehab. Theirs is not necessarily work, it is service.  


In the addiction recovery journey, one of the major fears that everyone has, is the possibility of a relapse.

The road to being sober is laced with lots of difficulties, and this is one of the reasons why not everyone finishes rehab. However, one of the ways to secure your recovery, is by turning to God for help.

Drawing closer to God is one of the best gifts that man has. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of this, and this is why it is underutilized.

A good number of people do not trust God to get their addiction problem sorted out, and this is why you will see some Christians struggling with addiction.

One of the contributing factors to this is hinged on the fact that, people have not fully understood the principle of submission.

Submission is an act of surrendering to God, and this should be done fully and not otherwise. Doing this shows God that you are willing for him to take full charge, because you cannot do anything of your own volition.

God is very much interested in our lives, and when he sees that we are struggling with any unpleasant act, he expects us to come to him.

However, we ignore his call, and try to sort out things on our own. Avoiding distractions completely is possible only with God. Keeping in touch with him ensures that our gaze is fixed on him and nothing else.

When you are faced with any challenge that has to do with your addiction, one thing you must remember is the danger of impairing your fellowship with him.

God is our heavenly father and this relationship cannot be broken. However, fellowship with him can be broken due to addiction.

Therefore, it is advisable that addicted individuals turn fully to God and trust him to help them triumph over addiction.

This can be achieved daily by praying and meditating on his word. With time, he gives us certain instructions which helps us in the battle against addiction.


In the addiction concept, anyone could be addicted irrespective of age, color, gender and the likes. Even Christians get addicted, and this should not come as a surprise.

However, there are some advantages that Christians have over non-believers in addiction recovery which is Faith.

Faith is what people would typically call hope. To a Christian however, Faith is much more than hope. Faith is having the conviction that an occurrence has taken place even when it has not.

Faith is believing in the unseen even though the chances are slim. In the addiction process, Faith is believing that you have been cured from addiction prior to even going for treatment.

It is expedient for a Christian to exercise Faith, but it is equally important to backup this faith with action. A Christian who has Faith of being cured from addiction needs to go to a rehab.

This does not undermine or make Faith less effective, it only means that you are taken the right steps to ensure your health is back on track.

Faith is a spiritual act that is backed up by physical action. The two of them go hand-in-hand. It is safe to say that Faith without acting it out could end up being fruitless.

Taking a look at the stories in the Bible, you will discover that those people who had faith, did not take things in their stride. Rather, they acted out and their Faith worked effectively for them.

Your Faith can pave way for you in addiction recovery if all you confess is positive and not negative. Faith works with the words of our mouth, so we need to be careful of what we say o that it does not affect our progress.

For someone in addiction recovery, Faith is principal, particularly if the person is a believer. The Faith of a believer would be made effectual by acknowledging every good work in Christ. This is what you will typically find in a Christian rehab.

Faith-Based Addiction Recovery

Matthew 9:2-6 ESV reads, “And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.’ And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he then said to the paralytic—’Rise, pick up your bed and go home.’”

The verse above serves as a reminder that Jesus not only forgives, but heals as well—as the paralyzed man is able to walk again. In relation, it is only through faith based recovery that we are able to gain the knowledge of such, and come to the realization that we aren’t alone. For, God is with us, and walks beside us, as we persevere on the rocky trail.

In turn, all that Jesus does for us is truly amazing. For, when we are sick, we are made well—and in our modern day we’ve come so far as to have medicines and hospitals to contribute in making us better. However, we must remember that these are all things God’s blessed us with, as he has given us each certain gifts—and/or talents.

As a result, if we let ourselves be led by faith, (just as the people who brought the paralyzed man to Jesus) and not our own will, God begins to bless our lives in so many ways. As we submit ourselves to Him—and His abundant love—the addictions which are currently faced with, or once were, are stripped away. Then, in the midst of our broken state He makes us whole—by placing unexplainable joy and peace in the midst of our affliction.

In conclusion, never doubt him (as some as the scribes had done), but instead let his word be known, and his love and healing fill your very being. It is through such (faith based recovery) that the anger that resides in you—which has been bottled up over the hours, months, or years of addiction—can finally be replaced. “God doesn’t have it out for you, he has a heart for you.” So don’t let the one person you need, be the one person you push away.

Faith and Addiction

Dark brown liquid taints the surface of my lips with remorse—while the neck of the laden glass bottle, causes a searing sensation to trail the hollow of my throat. My stomach swims in synchronization with its contents, and numbness lingers, ultimately obtaining its place. I refill the sharp silvered flask, and swig down “ease” and “clarity”, as the clock reads 4:02 (A.M)—yet, even interpreting such is a strenuous activity through my fog-filled vision.

I’d drink, I’d sleep, I’d wake, I’d rise…and the cycle would run on repeat. In my fault tears would fill my eyes, and the hollow organ beneath my chest would beat fiercely between my lungs—threatening to escape. I’d seek out clarity in all the wrong places—but through my broken state, I found it all again through God.

In relation, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV) reads, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

God is always present in the midst of our sufferings—and as we look to Him in faith—we not only find confidence in His capabilities, but contentment through His love. And even as we further develop in our relationship with Him, we still have yet to grasp the smallest sliver of His care, and the great extent to which He loves. However, as we gain a basis for comprehension, we begin to find ourselves lost in Him, rather than in that of our addiction(s). For, as we put our trust in Him, He overcomes us, but when we put our trust in that of our flesh, it consumes us.

Ultimately, we all struggle with addiction—in one form or another—but as we look to God, we find Him change our desires to line up with that of His. Even so, we all have moments in which we struggle, but during such, we are made strong through His spirit—and begin to feel hopeful, not hopeless.

Therefore, don’t let addiction overthrow you, instead let God overcome you. For, “…if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you… (Matthew 6:30 NLT).” Even during the times in which you fall, you will rise once more. For, as Christ overcame that of the world, so can you if you put your trust in the substance of your savior.

God Cares About the Hearts of Addicts

God cares about the hearts of addicts because he wants to aid us, and contribute in our well being. The verse below serves as a reminder of such, and reads as follows, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber (Psalm 121:1-3 ESV).”

However, when we’re faced with great difficulty (such as this), we lose perception of God—even when he’s standing right in front of us. In the midst of such, many of us may feel abandoned—and find ourselves escorted (hand-in-hand) by isolation. Yet, in the center of such—we fail to understand that, “God doesn’t have it out for us, he has a heart for us.”   

In addition, the word “us” applies to all of creation. For, no matter our mistakes, desires, and addictions we are forgiven through Him—as we come to Him with a heart full of faith. In relation, Luke 5:32 NLT reads, “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Through the verse above, we see that no matter our faults the Most High still adores us, and isn’t ashamed to be seen with us—as Christ is “the friend of sinners.” In turn, there are—and/or will be—times in which we struggle to carry out that which is right, as our flesh tempts us into transgression (but the spirit leads us to that which is just).

Furthermore, addiction is just one pain (among several) that many of us are faced with, but it doesn’t demean our worth. For, through God, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Therefore, we have nothing to fear, but God himself, and as we do so we begin to realize the extent to God’s love as “height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39 ESV).” It is only then that our spirit begins to surpass that of our flesh, as the weight of this temporal suffering doesn’t compare to the weight of God’s grace.

Ultimately, where the flesh is limited, the spirit is boundless. Where man’s love is selfish, God’s love is altruistic. And where man’s love fails, God’s love prevails. Therefore, when we’re grounded in faith—a sturdy foundation—we find ourselves uneasily swayed by the waves of the raging storm (addiction), and instead blanketed in the benevolence of God’s healing.

Inviting God into Addiction Recovery

Jesus took blood soaked clothes—in exchange for our tear soaked pillows—so that sin, and burdens, wouldn’t bind themselves on the backs of others. Yet, despite the suffering, He rose three days later—in all His glory. Such an instance, not only illustrates the Lord’s ability to overcome the world—but accentuates our capability to conquer temporal sorrows—when we invite God into our recovery.   

As a result, we must be resilient in times of tribulation—and have faith in God’s favor—for we are a work in progress. Consequently, we may not see quite clearly at first, but through our savior we are able. It’s through such that we are healed and gain clarity of God’s path for us. However, we can’t grow discouraged by “blurry seasons”—in which we are faced with addiction—but instead look forward to the future.

Mark 8:23-25 ESV serves as a reminder of such, as it reads, “And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him; ‘Do you see anything?’ And he looked up and said, ‘I see people, but they look like trees, walking.’ Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”

The most beautiful phrase within this scripture is as follows, “And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village…” For, it depicts the significant amount of trust that the man had for Jesus. The man wasn’t definite as to where he was going, but had no doubt in the healing of his Savior—and was willful to His direction. He put aside his own understanding—and through doing such—his faith made him whole. In turn, even as we falter, our weaknesses shape us; for, God restores the old to new, and places remedy in the midst of our addiction(s)—as we turn to him in our most difficult hour.

In conclusion, we must find clarity and understanding in the presence of your creator—and let our sight be restored through God’s omnipotent love. Act accordingly, and don’t let all you are now, withhold you from all that you are meant to be. Furthermore, don’t be discouraged by your imperfections, but encouraged by your progression, as you remain humble and confident in God’s care—and deliverance.

Why Christian Rehabilitation Facilities Are Effective

Matthew 18:12-13 ESV reads as follows,”What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.”

In relation, When we’re lost through addiction, we’re are found again through Christian rehabilitation facilities. For, it’s through such that we rely on God’s strength, rather than that of our own. The verse above illustrates what happens when we attempt to be lead by our own will, instead of seeking guidance through God. In doing so, our flesh directs us down a path paved of pain—which could have been avoided otherwise. But, when we put our faith in God—in times of physical defeat—we can begin to take heart in knowing that no matter the obstacle—God’s plan for us knows no bounds.

Furthermore, effective healing doesn’t only take place through one physically, but spiritually. For, Psalm 73:26 ESV reads, “My flesh and my heart may fail,  but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Therefore, our spirit can overcome that of our bodies; for the state in which its in is most important. As a result, we are placed in an environment in which we not only grow in strength (physically)—but in our faith; we begin to find peace unlike any other, and see ourselves as more than just victims, but as conquerors. It is then that we are not only found as sheep (physically), but found as sheep (spiritually), as we begin to piece together God’s purpose for us—and find the might through God to not only heal, but to endure.

In conclusion, some of the decisions we make are irreversible—but we have the option to choose a faith-based road to recovery—through an effective rehab facility. Those faced with addiction can find successful recovery through various forms of rehab, but the treatment is much more powerful when we allow the one who created us, to be the one who treats us—as he knows what remedy we need best. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and knows the weaknesses of our flesh. In turn, “each morning you arise you have a choice to walk with God, or walk with the world.” I pray you always walk with God.