For the TL;DR educate yourself on what mental health is and basic coping skills to share with others, and utilize the fruits of the spirit along with prayer and community.

I think there are three parts to this:

1) It starts with awareness as the Church sees depression, ADHD, and anxiety as consequences of an individual’s sin, it’s something that can simply be reversed outside of a Holy miracles, medication is seen as lacking trust in God, and psychosis and mania are of the devil… all lies.

2) We need to normalize mental health and get rid of stigma. How many times have you heard of OCD tendencies when you like to be organized, I’m so depressed when your football team loses, or I feel like I’m losing my mind when you lost your keys. Those have real implications and you are misusing them.

Further, how many times have you seen people be scared of those that have mental health. Could you comfortably go up to someone in rags that hasn’t showed for a week and is talking to themselves and have a conversation? Could you encourage your 15 year old to do so as well? We fear what we don’t know and Christians don’t know about mental health.

3) Isn’t the Church charged with helping the poor, widowed, and orphaned? Guess where the highest levels of mental health are?

But you can’t get rid of mental health with a few tithing dollars or a Christmas gift basket. This will take love, joy, peach, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Luckily, Christians are supposed to have been working on this their entire lives and now they get the chance to really flex their muscles with some of the hardest population to do that with and show Jesus to the world. Of course we American Christians will want to take time to do this no matter how hard it is……… well, maybe.

So to finally answer your question:

A) Educate yourself. What is mental health? What does it mean to have depression (hint: it’s not just being sad or stressed).

B) Identify how you (Church as a whole and individually) are not helping the situation. Preach on these shortcomings from the pulpit and as leadership.

C) Identify at least 10 populations in your community that may have high mental health concerns.

D) Identify professionals for situations that you cannot handle. I.e. people who are suicidal, psychotic, etc.

E) Learn basic coping skills, communication skills, and find resources out there.

F) Advocate in your local community. How many church members will show up at a town hall when there are too many potholes? Now how many show up when they want to cut mental health funding (it’s in Trump’s health care bill) or homeless shelters?

G) Find resources. This is a big one and tough. This includes housing, jobs, people to talk to for support, transportation, insurance, food, etc. Church doesn’t need to create them, there is already billions of dollars in government money and grants.

H) This is a tough one: maybe even do some counseling yourself even if your life isn’t in shambles

I could go on, but this is a bit ridiculous already.

Posted by Jeremy Smith

I am a blogger, clinical counselor, gamer, and someone who loves to pushback so you can create the very best thing possible. I blog exclusively about church technology as a senior staff writer at ChurchMag as well as about life in general on my personal site JeremyGrantSmith.com. You can also find my eBooks on ChurchMag Press.

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