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  • Writer's pictureAl Haywood

Mental Health and the Church (Part Two)

Updated: Apr 2

The question was asked, “what is the church doing to meet the needs of mental health in our community?” I’d like to share a few more thoughts concerning this dilemma.


Does Jesus Care? Obviously He does.  The Scripture states the following about Him. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”


Does the Church Care?  We should. But there’s risk when the church tackles mental health issues – stigma, judgment, etc. It was an issue before the whole pandemic thing but now.  The emotional well-being of people is in serious decline.  Now with isolation, church and school changes since the pandemic, stress has been heightened. 


WHO states that the global prevalence of anxiety and depression has increased by 25%. POSITIVE ATTITUDES ARE GOING DOWN.


So here are some stats….ANXIETY IS NOW THE #1 ISSUE FOR WOMEN, FOR MEN #2 RIGHT BEHIND ALCOHOL AND DRUGS. MEN TEND TO MASK THINGS. GEN Z IS THE MOST STRESSED OUT GENERATION EVER. From 26% to 44% was the highest rate of sadness ever recorded.  Mental health teen problems have worsened. Suicide is now an epidemic.  The 2nd leading case of death from age 10-24.


 Military, law enforcement, health care, education, etc.  The church has become a lifeline but even, especially the pastors are suffering. 


38% OF PASTORS THOUGHT ABOUT QUITTING THIS PAST YEAR.

 

Mental health is the leading cause of disability worldwide – 1 in 5

 

All kinds of people are suffering rather than flourishing – it’s a big tsunami.


You can’t have life to the full when you’re all chained up.


Mark 5:3-5 CEV  Explains that some of this is demonic oppression.

 When he was getting out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit quickly ran to him 3 from the graveyard[b] where he had been living. No one was able to tie the man up anymore, not even with a chain. 4 He had often been put in chains and leg irons, but he broke the chains and smashed the leg irons. No one could control him. 5 Night and day he was in the graveyard or on the hills, yelling and cutting himself with stones.


And then vs 15. He was in his right mind


Vs 15   When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had once been full of demons. He was sitting there with his clothes on and in his right mind, and they were terrified.


So what should the church do?

1)        Recognize, not deny! It’s all of our concern.  Most of us  hide our weeds because of our shame. Many times we add TO the shame of mental health – IF YOU WERE A REAL CHRISTIAN, YOU WOULDN’T HAVE THIS PROBLEM! We attach a stigma. People are never honest if they are concerned about being shamed.

2)        Mental health can be situational.

Let’s face it!  Stuff happens. Death, relationships, affairs, financial issues, bullying, harassment and abuse.

3)        Mental health can be biological.

We must consider metabolism, heredity, predispositions and family history.

4)        Mental health can be chemical.

The chemicals in our brains can be off balance.

5)        Mental health can be spiritual.

We must recognize that the vertical relationship with God determines the horizontal relationships with other.

So life has to be balanced among the situational, biological, chemical and spiritual.  But in the middle of it all, Satan is whispering, “You have no identity! You will never be loved! You’ll never be wanted! You’ll never be good enough!”

The church must come alongside the community by helping others stay connected healthy life giving relationships.

Galatians 6 - Dear brothers, if a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path, remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong. 2 Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord’s command. 3 If anyone thinks he is too great to stoop to this, he is fooling himself. He is really a nobody.”

There is an answer – Jesus.  How do they get to Jesus? The true church helps guide them. How does churches navigate all of this? With the help of an experienced Christian counselor.

Call me.  Let me help you.

 

Dr. Al Haywood

Pathway Christian Counseling

706-400-9994

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