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Wisconsin scholars weigh in on whether religion can help mental health


Dr. Fred Coleman, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at UW-Madison's Department of Psychiatry, says the three pillars of religion, community, structure and a sense of purpose, aid in people's mental health. That doesn't mean there aren't limits.

What is our purpose on the planet?

Two decades ago, USA TODAY asked its readers what singular question they would ask God or a Supreme Being if they could get a direct, immediate answer. More than the existential fears that come with what happens to us when we die or why bad things happen to good people, the question that grips American adults the most is our purpose in life.

It’s perhaps the greatest question we can ask, one whose beauty and terror belies the total and absolute lack of an answer.

This brings me to the topic of this month’s discussion, and it’s one that probes some of our deepest moral and psychological quandaries: A reader recently posed the question, “What evidence is there regarding whether religious and spiritual practices have positive or negative effects on mental health?”





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