Mental illness and rèligious change Academic Article uri icon


  • Over the last 20 years there has been a revival of interest in orthodox Judaism in Israel. In an area of Jerusalem with a large concentration of academies of study for ‘baalei teshuva’ (those who have undergone change to orthodox Judaism), it was noted that 12.6 per cent of referrals to the community mental health centre were newly religious. These referrals tended to have schizophrenia or severe personality disorders and were less likely than other referrals to have anxiety, depressive or adjustment disorders. Most of the newly religious referrals had psychiatric problems prior to becoming religious. Subsequent to religious change, many married and started a family before their psychiatric referral. The link between religious change and mental illness is explored.

publication date

  • January 1, 1990