Yesterday I shared remarkable research from Harvard demonstrating a direct connection between faith and mental health. In case you missed it here are a few highlights:
By the age of 20, those raised with religious practices average to be 18% happier, 30% more likely to help others and 33% less likely to engage in substance abuse.
What’s more is that those who fared best were those who prayed daily. In other words, having faith in one’s life in any capacity provided benefit, the more involved with one’s faith one was, the greater the benefit.
In today’s follow up, I want to illustrate a few points about what’s happened to educational outcomes and mental health since we actively began to remove faith and God from the classroom and society generally.
Entering 1980, the first full year of operations for the Department of Education, the average education outcome for Americans was 2nd in the world with Australians ahead of us. Religious holidays, references and prayers were acceptable. Over the next twenty years, entering the 2000’s, we experienced a 300% increase in diagnosed depression. This while the United States slid to 17th from 2nd in education outcomes. Coincidence? Maybe. Next up those who identify with any religion/faith. According to the Pew Research Center, only 6% of Americans didn’t identify with any religion or faith in 1980.
Today that’s up to 14.4%. But even that 240% increase doesn’t tell the whole story. 26% of Millennials don’t identify with any faith or God. Millennials were born in 1981 or later. The first-generation raised completely in the era of the Department of Education. Is that a coincidence too? Then consider an accredited study from Bensinger, Dupont & Associates last year demonstrating Millennials are 25% more likely to be diagnosed with depression than any other generation. Again, is that a coincidence too? You get the point.
Harvard’s research shows the connection directly. There’s corroborating evidence over the past 38 years based on changes in our schools and society. It’s awfully hard to deny, yet, it’s completely being ignored by educators and news media alike. It begs the question, why? Unfortunately, that’s rhetorical.
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