Major depressive disorder, just one type of depression, affects more than 16 million Americans. This is a public health crisis that, as we have seen, cannot be addressed by medical treatment alone. Many people who struggle with depression find help by attending church regularly.

Depression and the Search for Purpose

Humans are naturally wired to seek meaning in their day-to-day lives. Without a clear sense of direction, we become lost in a morass of meaningless despair.

Depression, then, is often due to purposelessness. If we accept that premise, then, logically, finding a true purpose, a calling, can help alleviate depression. Many people find purpose in religious faith. Additionally, churches of many different denominations place an emphasis on service, which helps you allow yourself to focus on the needs of others and can bring more fulfillment to your own life.

Depression Among Churchgoers and Non-Followers

It has been proven that people who go to church regularly are less prone to depression and disorders. Study after study shows that churchgoers experience substantially lower rates of depression than their atheistic or non-devout peers. And, given the search for meaning we already discussed, this is not surprising. However, there are also other reasons for this.

Social Connections in Religious Communities

Isolation is another factor in depression. When we feel alone, we are much more likely to fall into the trap of depression. Attending church helps expand social relations, communicate with other people who are looking to grow spiritually, and build lasting relationships.


As a character in Shawshank Redemption says, "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things." No matter what faith you subscribe to, having that faith makes the struggles we face every day here on Earth, which can stack up and add to depression, much more manageable.

With a higher power on your side, you know that, no matter what trials and tribulations you face here, things will eventually get better if you just put your faith in the guidance you are given and allow those teachings to protect you throughout your life. You can also find guidance on things you can do now that can bring you more joy in this life.

If you’re unable to attend a church congregation, either because of distance, illness, or other factors, you’ll find that many congregations are currently streaming church online. You can get many of the same benefits from these online services as you can in worshipping in a brick-and-mortar building.

Ultimately, depression is a spiritual sickness just as much, or perhaps more so, than a physical one. Yes, neurochemicals play a role in depression, manifesting it as a real-world, physical phenomenon. However, researchers have struggled to treat depression at scale (as discussed, America is hopelessly depressed even given the widespread use of antidepressants and other drugs) because no amount of prescription drugs can replace the joy that a community of worshippers, coming together can achieve together.

If you've struggled with depression and are still looking for answers, give faith a fair chance. Meet up with your brothers and sisters at your local church or church online and discover the peace of mind that can only be afforded by regular church attendance.

Author's Bio: 

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now enjoys writing about health, business, and family. A mother of two wonderful children, she loves traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can find her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.