As I mentioned earlier this week, this year has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of discussion within the Christian church about depression and mental illness. Sparked to a large extent by the tragic death of Rick Warren’s son earlier this year, many Christians are calling for the church to reconsider its understanding of and approach to mental illness, a condition that afflicts countless churchgoers despite the fact that it’s rarely discussed within the church environment.
In response to I’ve hunted down many insightful and thought-provoking essays and blog posts on this topic, and have listed some of the best ones below. (I’ve also included several links from our post on the topic of depression and the church earlier this year, which I encourage you to read as well.)
- A huge roundup of links about Christianity and depression at The Gospel Coalition.
- Mental Illness and the Church: New Research on Mental Health, How Churches Can Respond to Mental Illness, and Mental Illness and the Church: Some Helpful Honesty from Christian Leaders You May Know, all written by Ed Stetzer.
- It Can’t Be Depression… I’m a Christian! by Mark Mounts.
- Addressing Depression and Suicide in Your Church by Amy Simpson. See also two reflections on Simpson’s book Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission.
- Removing the Stigma: Mental Illness in the Church by Heather Sells.
- Tony Campolo urges Christians to take depression seriously.
- Can “Real” Christians Be Depressed? — from Relevant Magazine.
- The Depression Epidemic — from Christianity Today
- Christianity and Mental Health: Have We Lost Our Faith? — from the Christian Post.
- Welcoming the Mystery of Depression — by Tyler Braun.
- Sarah vs. Evil Overlord Depression — by Sarah Moon.
- Mental Illness Awareness Week takes place in October; the website has a number of useful resources for understanding and identifying mental illness.
In our earlier post, we presented several questions you can ask yourself about how your church might improve its ministry to people suffering from depression and mental illness:
- Does your own church do a good job of recognizing and helping people in the congregation who suffer from depression?
- Have you ever experienced depression? Was your church aware of your struggle, and if so, how did they act? If their reaction was less than ideal, how do you wish they had acted?
- Do you know somebody in your community struggling with depression? What can you do this week to help them?
Those are still useful questions, and here are two more to consider: have you seen a shift for the better in your church’s approach to this topic in recent months? What can you do to bring this topic to your church’s attention?