Mental health and spiritual well-being in humanitarian crises: the role of faith communities providing spiritual and psychosocial support during the COVID-19 pandemic

Article


Goodwin, E. and Kraft, K. 2022. Mental health and spiritual well-being in humanitarian crises: the role of faith communities providing spiritual and psychosocial support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of International Humanitarian Action. 7 (Art. 21). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41018-022-00127-w
AuthorsGoodwin, E. and Kraft, K.
Abstract

Across the globe, people’s reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying lockdowns highlighted, and continued to stress, the relevance of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in responding to crises, including in low-income and emergency settings. They also demonstrated the importance of faith practices and communities of faith as core needs and important coping mechanisms for many affected people in times of crisis. Drawing on data collected by World Vision International, the world’s largest child-focused humanitarian and development organisation, in the course of its response to COVID-19 in 70 different countries, this article explores the ways in which faith groups and faith leaders responded to the perceived needs of their communities. While keen to offer psychosocial support to people suffering anxiety and fear in the context of the crisis, this has often been integrated with spiritual support. Analysing their work from the framework of a rights-based approach to mental health, we conclude that they did contribute to psychosocial support through their MHPSS, in part through their provision of spiritual care. However, spiritual well-being should not be conflated with psychosocial well-being. While faith groups play an important role in MHPSS, their primary role is to offer spiritual care.

KeywordsPsychosocial; Spiritual; Religion; Faith; Mental health; Faith leaders; Humanitarian; COVID-19
JournalJournal of International Humanitarian Action
Journal citation7 (Art. 21)
ISSN2364-3404
Year2022
PublisherSpringerOpen
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s41018-022-00127-w
Publication dates
Online18 Oct 2022
Print18 Oct 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted26 Sep 2022
Deposited26 Apr 2023
Copyright holder© 2022, The Authors
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