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I felt as if all the “Christian” resources were outdated, and really didn’t address the fact that taking medication was okay in the eyes of God.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.


Published by Jarrid Wilson

Husband, Father, Pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship & Author of a few books.

84 comments on “Why All Churches Should Address Depression And Anxiety”

  1. Thank you for this. The church should be a hospital for the sick. Jesus came for the sick. And that includes alcoholism and addiction. Instead many churches don’t welcome you unless you are already okay. Can you imagine a hospital turning you away till you feel better?
    The spirit MUST be dealt with but the FLESH needs attention as well. And mental illness/addictions are not only illnesses of the spirit but of the flesh. God instructs us to pray but also to take action. We do not tempt God. God is not our personal genie Who grants our wishes. You can stumble people who believe its just about faith and prayer. We are instructed to pray for and accept His will and that doesn’t mean we get what we want. He gives us what we need. God removes these afflictions from some but not all. Why? We don’t know. Paul experienced this.
    My husband has struggled with mental illness/alcoholism all his life. He has been in and out of rehab. He is on medication. He has come to Christ but understands he HAS to address the physical aspects of his condition along with the spiritual. One does not work without the other. I have seen more love and compassion and selfless reaching out at an AA meeting than I ever have in any church I am very sorry to say.
    I understand people fear the unknown. I understand a large group of people can get stuck in a bubble of comfort and fear anything disturbing that. (Luke 6:32) The church needs to be disturbed. Jesus did not intend for us to be comfortable complacent. We are soldiers on a battlefield not loungers at a resort. If believers just keep throwing cliches like “just have faith, God will comfort you” at people who struggle why not take their own advice and know God will safeguard and guide believers who accept, welcome and encourage those who struggle into their congregations instead of looking at them with disapproval and fear?
    I pray this changes soon.

  2. As an alternative Doctor, I see many struggling with depression that is related to their balance of organisms in the gut. 60-90% of Serotonin is made in the bowels. Serotonin gives one a sense of well-being…and supplements that help bring balance are extremely important

  3. I was once in the occult, but redeemed by the blood and love of Christ. Suicide is a demonic spirit, one of many spirits that seek to take out those in the body of Christ. The bible says ” Take captive every thought and imagination ” in fact many spirits attack us in different ways. The spirit comes around me a lot but I know what it is, therefore I cast it away. A lot of churches will not talk about demons, for fear of offending its congregation. Folks we need the Holy Spirit more than ever, we are under attack the time is near. Tell someone if you’re hurting, surround yourself with prayer Warriors and those that would fast with you . This is not a game! Our God is a big God, and these demonic spirits fear him and his name. Use it! I am not a doctor but a true believer in the power of the Holy Ghost. If you committed suicide imagine the hurt you will cause to your family and your self. Some may even give up on God, ( exactly what the enemy wants) stand up and fight! You are more than a conquer .

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