Mental health problems are incredibly common and can be incredibly difficult to deal with. Christians are not immune to them. In fact, many people with mental health problems choose to seek treatment from a medical or psychological professional.
But can Christians seek medical or psychological treatment for mental health problems? Yes, but we need to do so prayerfully and with wisdom.
As a practicing Christian, I believe this is a completely valid choice, and there is no shame in doing so. However, some Christians feel guilty or ashamed for seeking help, believing that they are somehow betraying their faith.
The stigma against mental health problems in the Christian community
The church’s history with mental health
The church has a long and complicated history with mental health. For centuries, the mentally ill were seen as possessed by demons or cursed by God. They were often locked away in asylums or burned at the stake.
The church’s view of mental illness began to change in the late 19th century, but there’s still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health problems in the Christian community.
There are a few reasons for this stigma.
The Bible doesn’t explicitly talk about mental illness. This can lead people to believe that mental illness is not real or that it’s not a legitimate issue.
Many Christians see seeking help as a sign of weakness in their faith. Some believe that if you’re a true believer, you should be able to overcome your mental health problems on your own. (Didn’t Christ tell us to not rely on our own strength?)
This stigma can make it very difficult for Christians with mental health problems to seek help. They may feel like they’re not supposed to talk about their mental struggles, or they may worry that people will think less of them if they seek help. This can lead to a lot of suffering in silence.
How the church currently deals with mental health
The church’s current stance on mental health is much more compassionate than in the past.
While there is still some stigma, the church is beginning to recognize mental illness as a real and serious issue. Many churches now have programs or support groups for people with mental illness and their families.
Many Christians are also starting to talk about mental health in a more open way. Thanks to people who are showing their vulnerability online, mental health is no longer seen as a taboo topic, and Christians are beginning to feel more comfortable talking about their own mental health problems.
This is a positive trend, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
The church needs to continue to learn about mental illness and how to best support those who are struggling. They also need to continue to break down the stigma surrounding mental health so that more Christians feel comfortable seeking help.
The different types of stigma
There are two main types of stigma surrounding mental health in the Christian community: self-stigma and public stigma.
Self-stigma is when a person with a mental illness believes the negative things that society says about them. They may think that they’re weak or crazy, and they may believe that they deserve to be treated poorly. This can lead to a lot of shame and isolation.
Public stigma is when people outside of the mental health community believe the negative stereotypes about mental illness. This can make it difficult for people with mental health problems to find jobs, housing, and friends. It can also make it hard for them to get the help they need.
The effects of stigma within the Christian community
The stigma surrounding mental health can have a number of negative effects within the Christian community.
People with mental illness may not feel welcome in the church. They may feel like they are not good enough or that they don’t belong. This can lead to isolation and loneliness.
People with mental illness may not get the help they need. If they are afraid to seek help, they may not get the treatment they need to manage their illness. This can lead to a worsening of symptoms and a decline in mental health.
It make it difficult for people to talk about their faith. People with mental illness may feel like they can’t talk about their relationship with God, or they may worry that people will think they are crazy if they do. This can lead to a loss of community and support.
What can be done to reduce stigma in the Christian community?
To overcome self-stigma:
- Know that you are not alone – there are many people who understand what you are going through and they want to help you heal.
- If you suffer from mental illness, seek out treatment and support. Doing this will encourage other believers with the same struggles to do the same. By working to fight public stigma, we can make the world a more welcoming place for people with mental illness.
To overcome public stigma:
- Learn more about mental illness. This can help to dispel some of the myths and stereotypes that surround mental health.
- Churches can also create programs or support groups for people with mental illness and their families. This can provide a sense of community and support.
- Christian churches can work to break down the stigma surrounding mental health by talking about it openly and honestly. By doing these things, we can make the Christian community a more supportive and welcoming place for people with mental illness.
Mental health issues affect people of all faiths
Mental health problems affect people of all faiths, but a new study has shown that Christian women are more likely to seek medical or psychological treatment for mental health issues than any other religious group.
The study, which was conducted by the Pew Research Center, found that nearly half of Christian women who had suffered from a mental health problem in the past year had sought help from a professional.
In comparison, only about one-third of Jewish women and Muslim women had sought professional help for their mental health issues.
Researchers aren’t sure why this is the case, but they speculate that it may have something to do with the strong emphasis on family values and community support in Christianity.
Whatever the reason, this finding highlights the importance of recognizing and treating mental health problems in the Christian community.
Why seeking Christian therapy is not a sign of weakness or betrayal of Faith
Christians often feel like they have to suffer in silence because they think that seeking help is a sign of weakness or betrayal of their faith.
This couldn’t be further from the biblical truth.
Seeking help shows that you have faith in God’s ability to heal you and provide you with the resources that you need. If you don’t think you need help, that is only feeding your pride and belief that you can overcome worldly struggles with your own strength.
Our biblical truth is that we are strong and brave enough to face our problems head on because you have the Lord God on our side.
Here are a few things to consider:
First, remember that God is our ultimate Healer. He is the One who can give us strength in our time of need (Psalm 46:0-11).
Second, we need to be good stewards of our bodies and minds. That means taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally (Proverbs 12:25; Philippians 0:27).
Third, we should never be ashamed to seek help (Proverbs 28:13). In fact, it takes courage to admit that you need assistance and to reach out for help.
Fourth, we already know that we need to be careful not to rely on anyone or anything more than we rely on God (Jeremiah 17:0-14). We know that medical professionals are just one of God’s way to help us deal with our battles in the physical realm, but we first and foremost trust in our Lord for our complete healing.
How to get help if you’re struggling with a mental health problem as a christian
1. There is no shame in seeking Christian therapy or Christian counseling for a mental health problem.
Christians can and should seek medical or psychological treatment for mental health problems just like anyone else. Mental health problems are a real and serious issue, and they should be treated as such.
2. Talk to your pastor or other trusted mental health professionals about your struggles.
Your pastor or another trusted christian counselor can offer guidance and support. There is no shame in seeking treatment especially if it’s aligned with biblical truths. It can make a world of difference in your psychological and spiritual wholeness.
3. Seek professional help from a therapist or counselor.
A Christian therapist or licensed Christian counselors can help you work through your mental health problem from a biblical perspective. They can also offer confidential guidance and support to you and your family.
4. Join a support group with other christians who are also struggling with mental health problems.
Remember, you’re not alone in this struggle. There are many other Christians who have gone through similar experiences and can offer support.
A Christian community group can offer you practical advice, encouragement, and accountability. Support groups can also help people go through different seasons of their lives, including depression, grief or loss of spouse or children, a troubled marriage or divorce.
It can be helpful to talk to other people who understand what you’re going through.
5. Find online resources that can help you deal with your mental health issues from a christian perspective.
Below this post are some online resources that can help you deal with your mental health issues from a christian perspective.
Many professional therapists also offer christian therapy and online counseling service using video sessions. Search for licensed counselors near you.
6. Pray for healing and strength to overcome your struggles.
Prayer is our most powerful therapy tool that can help us overcome our mental health struggles. Pray for hope, healing, strength, and wisdom. Ask God to help you through this difficult time.
How to support others who are struggling with mental health problems
1. Speak positively about mental health and Christianity in order to break the stigma.
As a society, we’ve come to view mental illness as something that needs to be hidden away and ashamed of. But the reality is that mental illness is just like any other physical illness – it’s nothing to be ashamed of and seeking therapy.
2. Educate yourself on mental health problems and how to support those who suffer from them
Christians should also be supportive of those who suffer from mental illness. Showing compassion and understanding can go a long way in helping someone feel loved and supported.
By educating ourselves and showing support to those who struggle with their mental health, we can create a more inclusive and supportive community for all.
3. Listen without judgement and offer practical help where you can.
If you know someone who is struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, be there for them. Start a conversation and listen to them without judgement and offer hope and practical help where you can. Just being there for someone can make all the difference.
4. Pray for your loved ones who are struggling with mental health problems.
Pray for their healing and strength, and for the courage to seek out treatment.
5. Connect them with resources like Christian counselors or support groups if they want or need it.
You can contact your pastor or local church for support groups that your loved one can join. You can also search for Christian support groups on social sites like Facebook.
6. Remember that they are still part of the body of Jesus Christ, despite their struggles.
It’s easy to forget that those who suffer from mental illness are still people of worth, despite their struggles. Jesus loves us all, no matter what our battles may be. It is our duty as Christians to continue lifting them up to Christ.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of Christians who are speaking out about mental health and breaking down the stigma. They are sharing their stories and showing that it is okay to seek help for mental health problems.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health problem, don’t hesitate to seek medical and psychological help. Just as you would go to a hospital when your body is injured, you go to therapy when your mind is broken.
Remember, you are not alone in this struggle. There are many other Christians who have gone through similar experiences and can offer support. With the right help, you can overcome mental health problems and live a happy, healthy life.
Are there any resources or support would you add for Christians struggling with mental health problems? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Resources for Christians who are struggling with mental health problems
Psalm 139:14 says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Mental Health Resources for Christians:
- NAMI FaithNet: nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-FaithNet
- Mental Health Ministries: mentalhealthministries.net
- The National Association of Catholic Chaplains: nacc.org
- The American Psychiatric Association: psychiatry.org
- The National Institute of Mental Health: nimh.nih.gov
- Mayo Clinic: mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/basics/definition/con-20033813
- WebMD: webmd.com/mental-health/guide/mental-health-types-illnesses
- HelpGuide.org: helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mental-health-and-religion.htm
- The Foundation for Prayer and Psychological Services: fpops.org
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8225), or text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
For more mental health resources, visit nami.org/Find-Support.