4 Reasons Why the Church Needs to Reform Its Teaching on Mental Illness

1. The Mental Health Crisis Is Caused by More Than a Lack of Faith

First, the mental health crisis is caused by more than a lack of faith in our country. That should always be said from the stage if we are going to talk about this issue to our congregations. I never once heard a spiritual leader encourage those battling for their lives (at times) by telling them that what they face is not their fault! Healing comes from the Lord, but wisdom tells us that he provides healing in many ways. Professionals such as therapists, doctors, and counselors are tools God uses to help us find his peace when we are seeking him for our mental health.

We should never bring up the topic of those taking prescription medication for anxiety or depression without encouraging them that God desires them to find healing! These are just a tool that we can use to experience God’s love in peace in a greater way. We each should consult our doctors about the risks of taking such serious medications, and spiritual shaming should not be one of the risks that stop us from making the decision to use this tool.

I knew God’s peace during my battles with my mind and body, but it was so much more work to feel and know that peace when my body was working against me day in and day out. I am confident that it was God’s grace that led me to finally, after eight years of struggle, humbly accept my need for medical help to find healing. I tried every other remedy and spoke to counselors, mentors, therapists, and more! God’s healing finally came in the form of a tiny pill I take every night, and after years of striving, praying, searching, and failing, I am so grateful.

2. Anxiety and Depression Are Caused by Physical Imbalances

It is well documented that our behavior, thoughts, and trauma cause anxiety and depression. Those are all things that we need the help of others and the Holy Spirit to work through. Counselors, therapists, and a strong community are key to walking through these dark seasons.

In addition to these traumas, stresses, and losses, these struggles are caused by physical imbalances in my body.

This fact can make finding healing especially tricky if you are taught that medication is a spiritual defeat. Postpartum anxiety and depression are caused by hormone imbalances. Anxiety and depression are connected to gut health issues. You can become anxious due to heart issues, thyroid issues, IBS, Diabetes, tumors, respiratory disorders, chronic pain, genetic disposition to mental health disorders, and other causes that are still being discovered. The bottom line is that our minds are connected to our bodies, sometimes to find healing, we need medical intervention. Yet there is no other disorder that we stigmatize medical treatment for in quite the same way that we do for mental health disorders.

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