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I felt as if all the “Christian” resources were outdated, and really didn’t address the fact that taking medication was okay in the eyes of God.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


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. I suffered from terribly .correct almost 3 years . I know Christ was my anchor through it all ..I tried meds.they made it worse I researched and researched it .from a non christian view to a christian views .I wasn’t settling for the non christians views .. I know it comes from stress and from things that have happened in our past . I know Satan uses it to place bond age upon us .and Christ wants us free . So in sought the lord and he heard my cries and delivered me .no medication .I wasn’t still struggle with some symptoms but God is faithful and will deliver me from all .. I wouldn’t take meds. for it .they bring other problems and then more meds. It is taking God’s word as truth and Appling it and speaking it out that brings healing .

  2. I agree…similar situation with me. I got the help many months or years after it was necessary. If I just would have had the faith foundation and support PRIOR, it wouldn’t have hurt so much when people did say “just have faith”, or “trust Jesus”. That made me want to test my mortality even more. I hope more church leaders take this advice and start working on the small issues before they become catastrophic.

  3. Thank you for raising the awareness. I m suffering from.anxiety and despites receiving a prayerful msg from a friend that God wants me to cast all my burden to Him, I m still having sleepless nights and uncontrollable anger. It is not easy for any preacher to preach on this subject unless he or she has gone through and overcome it. Nevertheless, thank you for all the resources listed here including the readers’ suggested link. I will do some serious reading after this.

  4. Hi Jarrid,

    I really appreciate your article. As a PK my parents and I have helped many through pastoral counseling and for many pepole it has been hard to find someone to talk too. I am glad that some churches are realizing the need for programs such as living free and celebraterecovery to assist people through anything they may be going through. I received my Churcn Leadership majormy goal is to study counseling psychology to use my skills to help those in my future church and community.

  5. I appreciate your authenticty. As someone who struggles with depression as well, the last thing I ever want to hear is to just “have more faith”. Depression is your own personal torture chamber. I can only hope and pray that one day people with depression won’t be cast away but will receive more help from their brothers and sisters in Christ. When someone doesn’t have this struggle, I don’t think they can fully comprehend just how it really feels. This is not something you can turn off with a light switch. In the midst of your low points, you can’t think about having faith.

    1. I totally agree with you, Richelle. We need to enlighten others of how serious our mental illness is, your reference to a light switch is perfect.

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