Skip to comments.Religion: Depression and the (Mormon) church
Posted on 03/10/2008 5:10:19 AM PDT by Gamecock
The release of a recent study that found Utah is the most depressed state in the country is leading to controversial questions about whether there is a correlation between depression and the Mormon faith. Ultimately, the reason behind Utahs mass depression is unknown. However, Dr. Curtis Canning, a psychiatrist and former president of the Utah Psychiatric Association, believes there is a cultural factor involved, especially with Mormon women who may feel that in order to be a good mother and wife, they have to put on this mask of perfection. They cant show their tears, depression or agony.
But Brent Scharman, a psychologist and the assistant commissioner of LDS Family Services, isnt convinced theres a crisis in Utah and the Mormon church. Instead he cites the fact that religion is good support that creates a positive network and helps people get through crises and deal with long-term problems.
Are there people who feel Im not living up to the LDS ideal, or Im not living up to my familys expectations? Absolutely, there is no question. But having done counseling outside the LDS community, I saw people there, too, who were depressed because of perfectionism, he said. I wouldnt say it is any worse here than in more diverse communities.
What do you think about Scharmans point that the pursuit of perfection in any religious community can be a root of depression? Is this something you have observed in your congregation?
I wonder if this is a common phenomena in churches that preach legalism instead of the absolution of sins through the atoning death of God in the person of Jesus Christ on the cross.
I would guess there might be some kind of genetic factor, too. Everyone and their brother can trace themselves back to the same group of people.
Perfectionism could be an issue.
Pursuit of status, legalism, and doctrinal uncertainty could all be contributing factors.
It would be nice to know how strong any “depression correlation” is, though, before we go off the deep end of misguided analysis.
I wonder if the cause isn’t much more benign: A little alcohol relieves anxiety; anxiety leads to depression. The problem is that many people fail such moderation.
Is the amount of which the rate of depression is higher among Mormons greater than the amount of which the rate of alcoholism lower? And if they’re similar, is the depression less debilitating than alcoholism?
On a sidebar, I have a 5,000 pill bottle of Celexa in my office that is full of M&Ms. It helps some of my patients to grab a handful, and always perks me up for a few minutes.
Having At Least One Major Depressive Episode in Past Year among Persons Aged 18 or Older, by State: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2004 and 2005 NSDUH
Having At Least One Major Depressive Episode in Past Year among Youths Aged 12 to 17, by State: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2004 and 2005 NSDUH
I dug a bit and tracked this back to the Mental Health America. The below maps are lifted from that site Serious Psychological Distress in Past Year among Persons Aged 18 or Older, by State: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2004 and 2005 NSDUH
Average Number of Poor Mental Health Days in Past 30 Days among Persons Aged 18 or Older, by State
Age-Adjusted Suicide Rate in Each State per 100,000, 2004
It looks like living among the Rocky Mountains is a serious risk for suicide. Yikes!
We know from Scripture and experience that
THE LAW BRINGS DEATH . . .
Many are walking around dead . . . dead in depression . . . dead in many ways . . .
An emphasis on the law seems to me to contribute to such.
I don’t know of studies on that score, though.
Thanks for the maps.
Just what I was thinking..that corridor looks scary!
I was engaged to a Mormon man for about a year, and belonged to that church for 3 years. For any woman with a speck of independence it is (or was in the 1970s) a deadening experience. If you want to know why I fled screaming into the night, check out a book called “Fascinating Womanhood” which was given out to engaged women at that time, and tell me whether or not anyone could honestly follow its prescriptions and not become suicidally depressed.
I think it has to do with snowfall.
I know I’m getting depressed looking at the 3 feet of snow in my front yard that’s been here since Thanksgiving.
And they all confided in you about their depression and their pharmaceutical intake?
I know many more Mormons than you ever will, and no one has told me about their pills they pop.
Psychiatrists point to several factors that could contribute to Utah’s high levels of depression: limited mental health resources, restricted access to treatment as a result of cost, poor quality of resources and a varied list of other factors, including an underfunded educational system and a culture deeply rooted in the Mormon faith.
“In Mormon culture females are supposed accept a calling. They are to be constantly smiling over their family of five. They are supposed to take supper across the street to an ill neighbor and then put up with their husband when he comes home from work and smile about it the whole time. There is this sense that Mrs. Jones down street is doing the same thing, and there is this undercurrent of competition. To be a good mother and wife, women have to put on this mask of perfection. They can’t show their tears, depression or agony,” Canning said.
“Obedience, conformity and maintaining a sense of harmony” are unspoken but widely recognized behaviors, which all contribute to what he calls “the Mother of Zion syndrome.”
More Barbara Streisand psychobabble. Absolute bat guano.
Well your excuse of snow that lasts six months is seriously funny. How do you explain Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Southern Utah and Southern Colorado?
You DO recognize the States signifying the highest incidence of suicide lie within the Morridor (Mormon Corridor) don’t you?
And you see causality where there is only correlation.
Okay, I can play that game, too. You DO realize that all those states you mentioned as being part of the “Mormon Corridor” are also states with large Native American reservations don’t you? I guess the Indians are offing themselves.
It sounds just as plausible (and just as silly) as your implication that Mormons are killing themselves in droves.
There ya go again.
I knew this would happen. One cannot say anything without being accused of being of Mormon basher, therefore I normally don’t comment . My very close friend tells me, some of them tell me, and that is just the truth. I mean no disrespect to you or any Mormon, but the facts as I see them are just there. Perhaps some you know just don’t discuss things like that.
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