Facts About Mental Health & Christianity

According to the National Institute of mental health, about 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience a mental health disorder in a given year. That’s about 44 million people. That means there is some overlap in mental health issues in persons identifying as a Christian. Mental health is something that everyone has in some form. Some individuals may have healthy mental health and there are those that struggle with issues related to their mental health.

This often means that some part of their mental health is impairing their daily functioning. Mental health can be anything from daily anxiety, panic, mild depression to severe mental health issues that cause delusions or hallucinations. Of the 44 million individuals that identify some issue with their mental health, 4.38% suffer from severe mental illness.

There are dilemmas that happen around religion and faith that complicate accessing mental health care. There are a number of reasons for this; including the fact that mental health is often seen as a private matter, a family matter, or a matter to be dealt with within the church community. Some people also feel that they do not need or deserve mental health care and that makes it hard for them to reach out for assistance. The stigma surrounding mental health is complicated in some circles as it is often seen to be a moral issue instead of a human issue. 

Christians often feel like they are called to be saints instead of humans. This can lead to feelings of guilt and shame when Christians struggle with mental illness. Second, Christianity often teaches that God is good and that everything will work out in the end. This can lead to unrealistic expectations when it comes to getting better from mental illness. Finally, many Christians feel like they are unable to talk or reach out for help when they are struggling with their mental health or psychological well-being. Despite the research and numbers, in one study, Christians who were asked to imagine that their loved one was suffering reported that they would be willing to access even secular care if it would help them.

This perception can be due to the taboo nature of mental health issues, or because people do not understand mental health. Mental health should not be seen as a moral issue, but as an issue that affects humans and is biologically part of human living in our current society.

Mental health is a critical issue for Christians, as it affects everyone in some way. Christian scripture calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), and mental health is one of the most important aspects of neighborly love. Mental health struggles can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, their families, and their communities. Promoting wellness and mental health has positive impacts that ripple outward. Some positive impacts that ripple outward from individuals with mental health issues are productive and fulfilling lives if they receive treatment and support. This is especially true for people who have access to effective treatments and therapies.  Families can benefit from having a member with mental health issues in their household. This allows them to better understand and support their loved one’s condition, which can make life easier for everyone involved. And lastly, communities can be strengthened when people with mental health issues feel supported by their peers and community members. This can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions.