What role can religion play on one’s mental health?  The Calgary Journal brought three people together to take on this topic.

Calgarians Mike Ivanovic, Shelika Joshi and Rekha Jabbal discuss how religion can both help and hinder individuals who struggle with mental health challenges. Podcast produced by Blaise Kemna, Sajan Jabbal and Samantha Lafleur. Podcast music courtesy of Spyro Vapes/SoundCloud.

Shelika Joshi, a Hindu woman from Calgary, is a peer support worker with the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“I kind of made my own support group of inviting people who have mental illness or mental health concerns but we have faith in God,” Joshi says.

She says managing your own mental health and adhering to a faith tradition can work hand-in-hand.

podcast 1 Shelika Joshi, Mike Ivanovic and Rekha Jabbal, discuss mental health and religion with reporter Blaise Kemna on Oct 5, 2018. Photo by Samantha Lafleur.

Rekha Jabbal is a Calgary pharmacist and Sikh woman. She works firsthand with adolescents to address mental issues.

“It does give me that cultural understanding with some of our patients … but then also I have that evidence-based knowledge to know what may be the right treatment for that young person or adult,” Jabbal says, sharing medical and spiritual insights on mental health and religion.

Mike Ivancic is a Christian pastor in Calgary and sees that religion can have both a positive and negative effect on a person’s mental health. But in the end, he thinks it can play an important role in addressing an individual’s struggles without interfering with modern medical practices.

“I think from a faith perspective, it’s to acknowledge the things that we see in science, the things we see around us,” says Ivancic. “But it’s [also] to build on top of that. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

Hear more from Mike in our podcast on mental health and religion. Video produced by Blaise Kemna, Samantha Lafleur and Sajan Jabbal

In partnership with the Calgary Canadian Mental Health Association, we’re publishing podcasts and news stories about mental health issues in our city. Track these stories using #CalgaryJournalHealth.

Editor’s note: In the interest of transparency one of our sources,  Rekha Jabbal is the mother of reporter Sajan Jabbal.

Editor: Alexandra Nicholson | anicholson@cjournal.ca 

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