At any one time, a sixth of the population in England aged 16 to 64 have a mental health problem. (NHS Digital)
This is an incredibly high and alarming population of the UK who struggle with their own mental health, which makes me question – how are Christians dealing with their mental health?
A frame of mind
It’s very easy to feel alone in such a huge world with your emotions. Riddled with anxiety or battling with depression, can make you feel like you’re doing life alone. But God has given us the tools to help address mental health issues. I know from my own personal battle with depression, how alone you can feel. For too long depression took a toll on my body, my mind set, my aspirations, my social life and most importantly my relationship with God.
It was only when my older sister sat me down, that I had chance to reflect on the state of my mental health.
Pullquote: When we get cut, we need a plaster to heal. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the surface or internal.
Her words really stuck with me. We need to heal internal issues with helpful tools so we can have a fresh and positive look on our mental health. So what are the tools to overcoming mental health issues?
Self-care is taking an active role in protecting your well-being and happiness. This essentially means taking time to say yes to you. Make space in your schedule to have some you time. Whether it’s staying at home, detoxing from social media, Godly meditation, going for a walk or relaxing with loved ones, it’s important to unplug from life’s busyness. Looking after yourself also extends to your physical health through staying active and eating healthy foods.
Therapy is something I’m so grateful for and I’ll always be a big advocate for it. During my darkest moments I was able to gain a fresh perspective when visiting my therapist. Sometimes we need to unload everything we’re feeling in a safe environment. There are many different types of therapy and therapists (either privatised or on the NHS), so I recommend finding a path that suits you.
Mental health issues sometimes stem from our environment and past or present experiences. But they can also be due to a chemical or hormonal imbalance. Either way we need to step out in faith and address it. Going to your local GP and explaining how you’re feeling can really help. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, antidepressants and other useful medicines can make a difference for some.
In order to change your mindset, you need to create healthy environments that help shape how you feel. Surround yourself with friends and family who will lift you up and help you get rid of toxic lifestyle choices.
Prayer and Open Communication with God
Talking to God can be hard when you feel like your facing the world alone. You may be asking, ‘Why am I going through this’ or ‘Where are you in this?’ But from personal experience, you have to be honest with God. It’s okay to feel disheartened by your situation, but we can’t stay in that place of discouragement. Having open dialogue with God can really help you lean on him more. If you’re finding it difficult to pray, find devotionals specialising in mental health. In God’s word I learned that he loves me no matter where I’m at. God only wants good things for your life and your mental health.
Jesus’ death and resurrection was an invitation to relationship with the Father. And it’s an authentic relationship where we don’t have to pretend everything’s ok or only show our good bits. God invites us to ‘cast all anxiety on him, because he cares for us’ (1 Peter 5:7).