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Mental Health x Religion = ?

Mental Health x Religion = ?

By Edgar Louis de Gracia
HAPI Scholar

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Before anything else, let us define what ‘mental health’ means. Mental health is a state of well-being of a person; this includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. In recent years, we’ve seen believers in the divines use the excuse of not believing in a God to explain mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, paranoia, psychosis, etc.

Contrary to what these believers would like you to think, the divines have nothing to do with mental health issues that plague a person. Mental health disorders simply affect your mood, thinking, behavior – nothing more. As such, even a calm and reasonable theist can randomly turn dejected the next day.

It is no secret that people look for coping mechanisms to get themselves through the day without having to consider the idea of suicide. Belief in the divines is only one coping mechanism. Due to it, many believers jump to the conclusion that their gods have healed the mental scars and wounds that a person has had.

To a certain degree, you can’t blame their perspective, for some people who have looked to the divines for help indeed got what they asked for afterward. But the reality is that they didn’t receive help from the gods; often, it was through their own efforts that they were able to persevere.

Filipino researchers have found that mental illness is the third most common disability in the Philippines, with around six million Filipinos estimated to be living with depression and/or anxiety. To date, no system has been put in place to help those suffering from mental illnesses. Coupled with the government’s negligence to help those in need, many Filipinos are left to their own devices with regard to dealing with their mental illnesses.

If it’s on a personal level, seeking to the divines for help isn’t a completely bad idea for a coping mechanism. But please don’t go around shoving the mantra of “Look to God for Help” down people’s throats. There are a couple of techniques that I have personally used over the years which have helped me push through challenges that came my way. Do modify it to suit you to ensure effectiveness.

  1. Talk about your feelings to people who are deeply connected with you.
  2. If a problem comes up, try and solve it rather than run away from it. This would essentially prep your mind to handle things.
  3. Enjoy your hobbies.
  4. Take breaks.
  5. Unravel your insecurities and accept who you are.
  6. Do things you love, even if others find it weird.
  7. Never consider suicide as the best option to solve your problems.

I do hope this would help some people or at least give an idea to people on how they should help themselves. If you can’t reach your potential, why not pull your potential down towards you?

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