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Federal Government Fails to Acknowledge the Strong Connection Between Our Spiritual and Physical Health

Faith and Health Connection
Nov. 17, 2022

SPARTANBURG, S.C., Nov. 17, 2022 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Dale Fletcher, M.S. Executive Director of Faith and Health Connection:

    Federal health agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, fail to recognize spirituality as a component of health and wellbeing. Their websites do not offer resources regarding spiritual health and these agencies provide limited funding for quality research in this field.

    By not recognizing this important facet of wellbeing, our federal government is contributing to the spiritual demise of our citizens. This impacts negatively on not only all aspects of personal wellbeing, but on the public health of our nation and its related plaguing social issues such as poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, unemployment, crime, violence, and suicide.

    Care for the health and wellbeing of a person must include care for the whole person, one's physical/material nature as well as one's immaterial nature – the soul/spirit – as the soul/spirit and body are intricately interwoven. Science demonstrates that 'sicknesses of the soul/spirit' such as worry, bitterness, shame and despair can be the underlying cause of many psychosomatic physical illnesses. A robust spiritual health enables a person to better recover from such 'spiritual sicknesses' and to meet their deepest spiritual needs to feel loved, accepted and valued. Spiritual wellbeing also enables a person to better cope with stress, be more resilient, and heal from past trauma. It can provide hope, inner peace, and forgiveness, and creates an 'inner environment' that promotes improved emotional, mental, social, and physical health.

    Sacred texts, such as the Bible, inform us how to be in a loving relationship with our Creator and provide principles for caring for our spiritual nature. As we live accordingly, our robust spiritual health becomes a protective factor that favors better emotional, mental, and physical health.

    Prominent institutions of higher learning such as Harvard, Stanford, George Washington University, Baylor, and Duke recognize the role that spirituality plays in wellbeing and health. They devote education, resources, and funding for important research in this field of spirituality and health.

    Scientific research over the last few decades clearly demonstrates a positive relationship between religion/spirituality and health and wellbeing. However, because there is limited federally funded research, where spirituality is the central focus of wellbeing and in which well-designed intervention trials are included, advancement in the field of spirituality and health is stymied.

    A June 2022 Gallup Poll found that 81% of US Citizens believe in God. Belief in God is a core aspect of spirituality. A 2017 Pew Research Center report found that 81% of Americans consider themselves either spiritual or religious. Since spirituality is important in the lives of most people in our country, shouldn't the leadership of our nation's health agencies include spiritual health in their frameworks of wellbeing?

    The people of the United States should be encouraged by our nation's health agencies to make matters of faith and spirituality a facet of their personal health. On that note, I have written a comprehensive blog post, in a white paper format, that addresses this issue. The post provides detailed rationale supporting this stance. It also provides specific recommendations that these agencies should address. Finally, the post offers ways in which individuals can make a difference in this matter.

    I recommend that all federal agencies that have a mission to improve the wellbeing of our nation's citizens include spirituality as a component of health and provide appropriate resources, services, and funding for research.

    I encourage you to participate in a current Open Comment Period regarding the Healthy People 2030 Initiative coordinated by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (This period ends December 2, 2022.) The blog post I've written recommends that seven research objectives related to spirituality be added to this initiative. One recommended research objective is to identify the underlying spiritual factors that cause people to perpetrate mass shootings.

    Another way that you can make a difference is to correspond directly with leadership of the federal health agencies with your concerns. The blog post provides contact information.

    I believe that a group of informed and concerned people can influence our government to recognize the important role that spiritual health plays and that it has a place in its health agencies. I invite you to prayerfully read my blog post and consider how you can be a voice in this important issue that affects the wellbeing of the people of our nation.

    Learn more, and how you can make a difference, by reading the post – Spirituality and Health in the Federal Government.

SOURCE Faith and Health Connection

CONTACT: Dale Fletcher, M.S., Executive Director, 704-502-2121

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