A community-oriented spiritual intervention programme for persons with depression: A pilot study

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Background: Depression is a common and serious mental condition. Persons with depression are often disconnected with purpose of life, others, and the environment. Some people are unwilling to seek professional help due to low awareness and/or stigma associated with mental illness. Early identification and intervention are crucial. This intervention focus on Christian faith and connectedness. It can also fill the service gap for the difficult-to-reach population.

The primary aim of this pilot study was to explore the feasibility of a spiritual intervention for persons with depression and refine the intervention protocol.

Methods: A 6 weeks’ weekly intervention was developed with connection to the almighty God, forgiving and freedom, suffering and transcendence, hope, gratitude, relapse prevention, and celebration of success.
Seven adults with mild or moderate depressive symptoms were recruited. Qualitative evaluation was conducted by focus group. Rating scales for the repeated measures design including Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) were administered at baseline, immediately after the programme, and at 3 months follow-up.
The focus group interview was analyzed through coding by content analysis. A non-parametric test, Friedman ANOVA was used to analysis the mean difference scores of the treatment effect over time.

Results: Several themes were identified from the focus group which included meaning of spiritual intervention, effect of spiritual group involvement, and therapeutic components of spiritual intervention. Though the p value didn’t show a significant difference in the baseline & post-intervention score of PHQ-9 and GAD-7, a decrease in the mean scores PHQ9 and GAD-7 at post-intervention, and 3 months’ follow-up were noted.

Conclusion: The preliminary findings support the holistic development and implementation of the spiritual intervention programme in the community. The programme is lengthened from six sessions to eight sessions with the same content to allow more time for participants’ sharing and interaction.
Period18 Aug 202219 Aug 2022
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Spiritual Intervention; depression; connectedness; Christian; community