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Commentary: Religion, religious attitudes and suicide

Int. J. Epidemiol. (2010) 39 (6): 1496-1498. Dinesh Bhugra

Religion may play a significant role in the identity of an individual. A key component of an individual’s culture, religion can act both as a protector against emotional distress and also as a precipitant. The relationship between religion and spirituality on the one hand, and between religion and mental health on the other, is multi-faceted and complex. If they practise, individuals’ explanatory models of their psychological and emotional distress will be strongly influenced by their religious values. Religious beliefs and rituals can act as buffers against stress and provide an element of comfort to distressed individuals. It is inevitable that religious beliefs and values held by any individual for whom these are important will affect how help is sought and where help is sought from.

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