Are People With Near Death Experiences Mentally Ill?

Spiritual Experiences and Mental Illness

Written by M.T.B.

    One of my concerns before taking this job was that people with spiritual experiences were mentally ill, and because I am insistent on providing the truth in my writings, this put me on edge. I emailed several people regarding Near Death Experiences, and the topic of mental health. My question was— “Are these people mentally ill?” I received overwhelming responses from professionals with, the answer, “No!” However, I remained hesitant. There is one doctor whom I respect above all others, and he is an acquaintance of mine— Dr. David Healy, MD. I sent him an email, stating my concerns, and presented a simple question— “Do you believe that mental illness is a factor in Near Death Experiences, OR plays any part in them?” His response was brief, but indicated that there was no correlation between mental illness and Near Death Experiences.

    I was still skeptical, and before I accepted this project, I began to read journals. In all the time I have invested in the academic literature, I have discovered no correlation between people who have spiritual experiences and an increased rate of mental illness, that is beyond the standard of society. I decided to accept the job.

    I am discussing this topic because I have met many individuals who are under the impression that Near Dear Experiences are a symptom of mental illness. People like to cast judgment, without knowing about the topic they are belittling.

    Within the Near Death Experience(NDE) community, there exists a lot of hate mail. I have a hard time understanding why an individual would go to the trouble of writing a cruel email to those expressing their religious experiences— it is malicious.

    Yes, some individuals might have a different perception of life. They might be religious. Perhaps they share stories of their NDE(s), but I find it not only in bad taste, but also ignorant, to bully them. I believe that a scientific approach and an open mind will bring you further in life than malice ever will. 

– M.T.B.

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