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Health, Healing & Overcoming Difficulties

in Explore > Themes

At some point in our lives, we all suffer from illnesses of the body or the mind and we face tests and difficulties. This collection highlights resources dedicated to physical and spiritual health and well-being, healing, resilience and overcoming challenges.

Hope as a Response to Hardship – 7 Baha’i Resources About Mental Health

October 25, 2022, in Articles > Baha'i Life, by

We’re enjoying creating a variety of Baha’i-inspired content for Mental Health Month and it’s also given us the opportunity to see what articles are online that look at mental health from a perspective informed by the Baha’i teachings. We’ve put together this short list and we hope it’s helpful for anyone looking to read more on the subject.

  1. The Light Was in the Darkness

The first article I want to highlight is from Baha’i World, which is now completely online. “The Light Was in the Darkness: Reflections on the Growth that Hides in the Pain of Suffering” is a riveting article written by professor and practicing psychologist Michael Penn. He shares with us the story of one of his patients, renamed Daniel for the sake of anonymity, and explores his existential stress. I love this part of the piece:

“[Daniel] was at least aware, for example, that existential suffering tends to have a cause, that the lessons embodied in such suffering can foster our development, and that this uniquely human form of suffering can be overcome as we bring our lives into conformity with universal principles and values. And while Daniel might have spoken about the work that we had been doing together in terms that are wholly secular, from the perspective of the Baha’i teachings, no matter our beliefs, the greater the fidelity of our behavior to certain universal principles and values—such as love, forgiveness, service to humankind, humility, patience, and purity of heart—the greater the quality of our life and development.”

You can read the whole article, and many others pieces on a variety of subjects, on the Baha’i World‘s website. The website is worth revisiting as more articles are added.

2. A Holistic Conversation

Leo Owen has also written an article called “A holistic conversation on mental health needs the scientific, the spiritual and the social” on UK Baha’i that ties mental health with the community building work we are engaged in. He writes:

“As a Baha’i, I believe that another way that mental health can be explored is by considering how we as individuals engage with our wider communities. The Baha’i community has been exploring this topic through the concept of the ‘twofold moral purpose’. This is the idea that the transformation of the individual and the society are symbiotic processes and closely connected to our wellbeing. Part of this idea is that ‘man is organic with the world‘ and so to progress as a society is to progress an an individual, and vice versa.”

3. Hope

The Journal for the Association for Baha’i Studies for North America has also published an academic article titled “Thankful in Adversity: Using Baha’i Writings and Benefit Finding to Enhance Understanding and Application of Mental Health Recovery Principles” by psychiatrist Lindsay-Rose Dykema. It’s an interesting read and I’ll be thinking about this phrase for a long, long time: “hope is the only rational response to hardship.”

4. Light & Mercy

Light & Mercy is a compilation on mental health and tests and difficulties. It includes Writings of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and letters of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice and was compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia. This 22-page booklet is available for purchase from the Australian Baha’i Distribution Service as a physical copy, and a free PDF version is available for download.

5. 6. 7. The Infirmities of the Mind

Merryl Hammond has written a collection of three essays bundled together under the title “The Infirmities of the Mind” for These three articles are:

These pieces are deeply personal and touch the heart. Merryl writes:

“Now that I’ve been on the other side of the thin line that separates mental health from mental illness, I can appreciate how unspiritual and immature my previous attitudes were. I’m truly ashamed to admit that I stigmatized and judged people with mental illnesses. I saw them as lesser human beings, unworthy of respect, undeserving of dignity.

“Now I have a mission: to help end the stigma against mental illnesses of all kinds, in all age groups, and to encourage everyone—whether we cope with a mental illness ourselves, or whether we have someone with a mental illness in our network of family, friends or colleagues—to take a more spiritual approach to mental illness.”

There are undoubtably more articles out there; if you know of any, please share them in the comments section. And if you’ve missed any of the videos, articles, or images we’ve created to raise awareness of mental health, you can find them all in this roundup article dedicated to Mental Health Month.

National Mental Health Month is marked in Australia every October in a bid to advocate for and raise awareness of Australian mental health and promote better mental health for all.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please know that you are not alone. Help is close at hand. Call the Lifeline Helpline for support at 13 11 14 or 000 if you are facing an emergency.

Posted by

Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
Sonjel Vreeland

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