So 50% of Christians are very ignorant. (See link below.)
I used to have anxiety attacks and depression, and prayer, faith, and Bible reading didn’t do squat for me. (Neither did seeing shrinks and taking medication, but I am not opposed to people seeing mental health professionals or taking meds.)
Most preachers, most churches, are very ignorant about mental health problems and stigmatize anyone who has one.
Bible reading alone (or prayer or church attendance) can no more cure someone of depression than it can near sightedness, a hang nail, a sore tooth, or a broken arm.
Before I list the links to the survey which reveals half of the Christians polled are idiots about mental health problems, check this out:
(Link): Baylor Study Finds Church Congregations Blind to Mental Illness
- The study shows that while families with a member who has mental illness have less involvement in faith practices, they would like their congregation to provide assistance with those issues.
However, the rest of the church community seemed to overlook their need entirely.
In fact, the study found that while help from the church with depression and mental illness was the second priority of families with mental illness, it ranked 42nd on the list of requests from families that did not have a family member with mental illness.
… “Families with mental illness stand to benefit from their involvement within a congregation, but our findings suggest that faith communities fail to adequately engage these families because they lack awareness of the issues and understanding of the important ways that they can help,” said study co-author Dr. Diana Garland, dean of Baylor’s School of Social Work.
“Mental illness is not only prevalent in church communities, but is accompanied by significant distress that often goes unnoticed. Partnerships between mental health providers and congregations may help to raise awareness in the church community and simultaneously offer assistance to struggling families.”
(Link): Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness
- Nearly 50 percent of American Christians believe that prayer and Bible study alone can cure mental illness, according to a recent survey by LifeWay Research.
Dr. Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors, credited this response to Christians’ faith in God.
“I applaud those out there who really believe in the power of God,” Clinton told Moody Radio show host Chris Fabry on Thursday. “It’s an encouraging time. People continually look for out for God spiritually for hope, for help.”
Sixty-eight percent of Americans said they would feel welcome in church if mentally ill, though 54 percent of all Americans said that the church needs to do more to prevent suicide.
One of the first steps the church must take is to avoid stigmatizing Christians taking medication for their mental illnesses, said Clinton.
“So often we trivialize one another’s pain, especially emotional disorders. Somehow we think this is a weakness or a horrible sign,” said Clinton. “Don’t get me wrong, I understand both sides of the river, I debate both sides. I know there are people taking medication who probably don’t need to be on it, and I also know there are people who are not taking it who probably need to be on it because of biology.”
Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said that Christians must better relate treating mental illness to physical illnesses.
“They forget that the key part of mental illness is the word ‘illness’,” he said in a Lifeway blog reporting on the survey. “In a typical evangelical church, half the people believe mental illness can be solved by prayer and Bible study alone.”
Several prominant Christian leaders have recently begun to talk more frankly about mental illness following the suicide of their children.
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