Over the past few years, there has been a push to help raise more awareness about the reality of mental health struggles. Organizations have made moves to help support their employees, and some schools have started allowing mental health days for their students. While we still have a long way to go in breaking the stigma, I believe this generation has more understanding and empathy for mental health struggles than any generation before it.
But where does this leave us as Christians?
Mental health is not an area the Christian community has always understood or acknowledged. In fact, today there are still some people who would see mental health as a “secular” invention or something that “Christians shouldn’t struggle with.”
Christianity and Mental Health
The reality is though, that mental health matters for Christians too.
God calls us to be good stewards of our spirit, soul, and body. This list includes our mind and mental health. Just as much as we have a responsibility to care for our spiritual lives and our physical body, we are called to look after our mental health.
Why is Mental Health Awareness so important?
One of the quickest ways the enemy can damage us is to make us feel ashamed and alone. For those of us who struggle with mental health, our natural inclination is already to feel this way. When we as believers minimize the struggle our brother or sister is facing, or deny that what they are dealing with even exists, the damage can be devastating.
So how can we raise awareness for Christians struggling with mental health? I think before we can help, there are a few concepts we need to understand:
- You can be a strong Christian and struggle with mental health.
- Church service is not a replacement for counseling or therapy.
- God is not mad or disappointed with those who struggle.
- As Christians, we can invite God into our struggles.
How Do We Respond?
The truth is, God has endless love and compassion for those who are battling depression, anxiety, and every other form of mental illness. The heart of the Father is for us to find healing, hope, and restoration. True freedom does not mean that you will never struggle again, but it does mean that God promises to be right there with you in the struggle. Our mental health is real, but so is our God!
So, if you are a Christian who struggles with mental health, God loves you, and He is not ashamed of you. You are not alone in this fight. He is there with you when you cry and when you doubt. When you go to counseling or therapy, He is there cheering you on. You don’t have to feel ashamed or alone.
If you know someone you love is struggling with mental health, pray for them, and support them! Let them know they are loved unconditionally and encourage them to seek out the help they need. Your prayers and understanding will mean more than you could ever know. We all have a part to play in sharing this message that mental health matters for Christians too!
For more resources on this topic, listen for our MercyTalk Podcast “How Do We Respond?” To learn more about Mercy Multiplied’s free-of-charge residential counseling program visit our website. For daily updates, follow us on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.