One in five adults struggles with some mental health issue, leaving the question…..what is your church doing to reach people or normalize mental health awareness? Maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah one in five people, but not in the church.” But, according to a survey by Christianity Today:
- Three out of four pastors knew at least one family member, friend, or congregant who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
- 74% said they knew someone diagnosed with clinical depression
- 57% said they knew at least three people who fell into that category
- 23% of pastors indicated they had battled a mental illness of some kind on a personal level
Mental health in the church is real. It affects pastors, the staff remembers, and congregants alike. But what if, instead of dwelling on the rising number, we, as the church, vowed to raise awareness? How would that work exactly? Here are two ways your church can raise awareness about mental health.
TALK ABOUT IT
Despite the numbers above, most churches and pastors still don’t talk about mental health. There’s a big miscommunication when as a church, we want a person to know we are there for them, no matter what they’re going through, but never talk about the issues they’re facing. Talking about mental health is honest. It’s raw. It’s transparent. Not only talk about it but provide resources to those struggling with it. Are there counseling centers you can recommend? Maybe you can start a small group led by a care pastor? The more we, as the church, avoid the topic, the more taboo it becomes.
As a church leader, sometimes it can feel like your constantly pouring out and pouring out. Eventually, all of that pouring out will result in an empty cup that can leave you feeling burnt out, depressed, sad, and various other emotions. To help you help others, you must first take care of yourself. What does that mean? Equip yourself with self-care routines that leave you feeling rejuvenated and relieve stress. Second, educate yourself on ways you can help those who may be struggling with their mental health. Lastly, view mental health as a ministry, and just like every other ministry, pray about it.
Be a part of the solution. Figure out exactly what you can do to reach those struggling with mental health. If you’re looking for resources and tips on how to care for yourself so you can best care for others, ChurchCommuncations is hosting a FREE two-day virtual summit devoted to equipping church leaders with the necessary knowledge to empower them to focus on their mental health and the mental health of their congregants. You can sign up today for Thrive & Cultivate, May 21-22.