Posted in adhd, anxiety, bipolar, church, depression, Faith, fear, mental disorders

The Church and Mental Illness

I was saddened to hear about the death of Jarrid Wilson..if you don’t know who he was, he was the associate pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California. Sadly, he took his own life on Monday. He was 30.

Wilson and his wife founded “Anthem of Hope”, a program meant to help people who suffered from depression and mental illness.

I sit here in complete disbelief. But I realize that mental illness does NOT discriminate. It can strike anyone at any given time. Christian or not. Pastor or parishioner.

It’s time that the church step up and help deal with this mental illness crisis. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 43.8 million people experience mental illness in a given year. That’s 1 in 5 adults.

I believe that the reason the church doesn’t reach out is because they just don’t know how to handle it. But it’s time to change that. It’s time to start having meaningful discussions about the seriousness of mental illness.

There is a stigma surrounding mental health. It’s time to erase that stigma. Mental illness is REAL folks. Let’s stop pretending it doesn’t exist.

Its Not a Lack of Faith Issue

I have suffered from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder for many years.  I was told by someone once that my faith was not strong enough and that’s why I was suffering. I’ll never forget that.

But it’s not a faith issue. What if what I had was physical? Diabetes, or cancer? We don’t question those illnesses so why is mental illness any different? According to Ed Stetzer,

We can talk about diabetes and Aunt Mable’s lumbago in church—those are seen as medical conditions, but mental illness–that’s somehow seen as a lack of faith.

Mental illness is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It shouldn’t be treated any differently from a physical illness.

My Thorn in the Flesh

Can God heal mental illness? Absolutely! He can do anything! For me, personally, I find my mental illness to be my “thorn in the flesh.” I have actually grown closer to the Lord these past several years. And I believe the verse that says, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Cor 12:9)


Warning Signs

  • extreme mood swings
  • talking about being burden to others
  • increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • talking about being hopeless
  • talking about having no reason to live
  • talking about being trapped and in unbearable pain

What Can You Do?

  • Ask–Talk to them.
  • Be There
  • Listen without judgement
  • Help them connect–create a network of resources and individuals for support
  • Follow up–continue to have contact with them

 

If you or someone you know is severely depressed and suicidal please contact

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255