Women who go to church are five times less likely to kill themselves, according to new research.
Researchers analysed almost 90,000 women to look at the associations between going to church and suicide between 1996 and 2010.
More than 17,000 attended church more than once a week while 36,488 attended once per week and 21,644 had never attended.
The researchers, from the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, found that compared to the women who attended services once a week or more, those rejected religion were more likely to commit suicide.
Dr Tyler Vanderweele and his co-authors admit that the study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, spoke with mostly white Christians and female nurses which limited the participants’ variability.
Following up their research the authors found that 36 had committed suicide, a leading cause of death worldwide and prohibited by many religious traditions.
Dr Vanderweele said: “Our results do not imply that health care providers should prescribe attendance at religious service
“However, for patients who are already religious, service attendance might be encouraged as a form of meaningful social participation.
“Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that psychiatrists and clinicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.”