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The Role of Faith-Based Support in Teen Mental Health Treatment

By July 12, 2023Mental Health

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe mental disorders among young people as “serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, causing distress and problems getting through the day.” Research suggests that 50 percent of lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75 percent begin by age 24. Severity of symptoms across a person’s lifetime can be reduced significantly when these symptoms are identified and treated as early as possible.

Faith-based treatment offers therapies with a focus on spirituality, compassion, purposeful living, and acceptance. Spirituality, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, “involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than [oneself], something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature.” It is a broad and complex concept which varies its understanding according to different cultural, religious, and academic backgrounds, and there is no clear consensus about its definition among health researchers. Yet, a substantial amount of empirical data illuminates the powerful role faith-based support can have on teen mental health treatment outcome, such as:

  • Faith-based support often includes a range of coping mechanisms and spiritual practices (e.g., prayer, meditation, mindfulness, chanting, engaging in religious rituals, etc.) that can benefit teen mental health. Research suggests that for teens who find comfort and meaning in such practices, these activities can promote relaxation, stress reduction, emotional regulation, and a sense of inner peace.
  • Findings from a University of Alabama study revealed that “higher religious faith and spirituality are associated with increased coping, greater resilience to stress, an optimistic life orientation, greater perceived social support and lower levels of anxiety.”
  • Another study found that people “with strong religious or spiritual beliefs are healthier, heal faster and live longer than those without them.”
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, which investigated the effects of religious and spiritual interventions, showed positive effects on mental health outcomes such as significant decrease in stress, alcoholism, and depression.
  • Psychiatric research indicates that “religious beliefs affect how individuals deal with stressful situations, suffering, and life problems as it enhances acceptance and one’s ability to function competently in the face of stress and adversity.”
  • An article published in Frontiers in Public Health explains that engaging with religious teachings and spiritual mentors or leaders can provide guidance and facilitate discussions that address existential concerns, promoting a sense of purpose and self-discovery.

Faith-based support can offer teenagers who have a religious and/ or spiritual connection comfort, community, coping mechanisms, moral guidance, and a space to explore existential questions. When integrated thoughtfully into mental health treatment, faith-based support can positively contribute to the holistic well-being of religiously affiliated teenagers.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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