Why All Churches Should Address Depression And Anxiety |

Why All Churches Should Address Depression And Anxiety

Why All Churches Should Address Depression And Anxiety

Why All Churches Should Address Depression And Anxiety

It’s no secret that my past  was ridden with mental health issues—ones that kept me from wanting to live for much of my teenage life. I’m very vocal about this truth, and I will continue to be as along as my story may have an impact on others who need to hear it. And while I do believe today’s church is doing better at addressing the issue that is mental health, I believe there can be so much more done than what is currently taking place in regards to depression and anxiety. Let me explain.

I never tried to take my own life in my younger years, but I frequently found myself googling painless ways to commit suicide, and really had no remorse once finding what I was looking for. It was a sad state to be in. The reality is that my life was infected with the burden of depression and anxiety, and the only places I could find reliable information from were not churches in my local area. Why? Because mental illness wasn’t really talked about.

I felt as if all the “Christian” resources were outdated, and really didn’t address the fact that taking medication was okay in the eyes of God. There really wasn’t much information at all. It was as if all the answers I was finding were suggesting that I just needed more faith. Seriously? The last thing someone contemplating suicide wants to here is, “Just have faith.” I understand that Jesus has the power to conquer anything that comes in my way, but please don’t throw Christians cliché’s at me. I wanted real, authentic and practical information, and I assume there are millions in this world who would want the same. It’s what Jesus would have done.

I really wanted to find help in the church, but there were no ministries or non-profits working within the walls of local congregations that I could reach. All the counseling and help I received came years after I actually needed it, and it was found in the secrecy of a local medical facility, not a church—where it should have been all along.

Mind you, the church has come a long ways since my teenage years in regards to helping those with mental illness, but I believe we can still do a lot more.

Some Statistics

1. Over 80% of people who are clinically depressed are not receiving treatment. 

2. The number of people diagnosed with depression increases by 30% every year. 

3. An estimated 121 million people around the world suffer from depression. 

4. In 2013 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans

5. In 2013 someone died by suicide every 12.8 minutes.

We Need The Church

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7

Here’s the thing… I understand that there is importance to seeing what many would call a “professional” in the field of mental health issues, but this doesn’t mean that the local church shouldn’t be prioritizing leadership roles and ministry efforts to help those who deal with these issues. I understand that not all churches lack in this area, but I bet there are more who do than don’t.

My wife and I have met with and counseled dozens of young people over the last year, all sharing with us the brutal battle that is taking place within their souls. Suicide attempts, cutting, depression, and anxiety are just the beginning of what these young people were facing.

We NEED the church to step up in its efforts to be more vocal in regards to mental illness. Whether that be through a sermon series, free resources, creating non-profits or even a cultivating a designated year-long ministry. Regardless, the church should be at the front-lines of this battle. People need a safe place where they can be honest and transparent with what they are going through.

There is nothing wrong with admitting you are depressed, cutting, have attempted suicide or are even contemplating it. There is nothing wrong with seeking medical attention and being prescribed medication to help you along the journey. And there is nothing wrong with admitting you need help. 

A Few Resources

1. Anthem of Hope.

2. Heart Support.

3. To Write Love On Her Arms.

4. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety or has even thought of suicide, please give them the resources above and do not wait another minute.

—Jarrid Wilson

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What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.


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82 Comments

  • Craig Jones May 20, 2015 at 8:45 AM

    For anyone suffering from depression, I recommend the http://destroydepression.com/info.php system. Written by James Gordon, a former depression & PTSD sufferer, it teaches 7 natural steps which he used to cure his own depression and has helped thousands.

    • Kevon May 21, 2016 at 6:30 PM

      If he claims he cured it, then he doesn’t understand it (particularly PTSD). Mental illness can be managed, not cured.

      • Missy June 7, 2016 at 7:51 AM

        The body can heal a wound, broken bones, etc. The brain can heal too.

  • Diana Blane May 20, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    Thanks for addressing such an important topic. I remember when I was going through a difficult depression, someone from my church told me if I had more faith, I would not be depressed. That just made me more depressed. :-) Praying your article shines a light on this issue.

  • Devin May 20, 2015 at 8:07 AM

    I really appreciate this post, Mental Illness is not talke about enough in the “Church” ! It’s often one of those things that slips through the cracks, as someone who struggles with a Mental illness I can appreciate all conversation about this issue. Thank you for talking about this.

  • Francesca May 20, 2015 at 6:38 AM

    I think that this post will be helpful to so many people…to know that we are not alone it’s a great thing

  • Amy Wills Ohm May 20, 2015 at 6:07 AM

    Jarrid – I couldn’t agree more and tank you for sharing your personal experience with mental illness. As for additional “free” and relevant resources – just wanted to add http://www.TreatmentDiaries.com to the list. It’s safe, anonymous and encouraging site for all ages of individuals needing support for any type of mental health struggle. Sometimes just sharing our struggles in written form and identifying with those we can relate to, makes us feel a better to know we are not alone. I hope this helps!

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