3 Key Reasons to Talk About Mental Health at Church
The lack of discussion on mental health in the Church can make it challenging for individuals to seek help and support—from one of the best places to receive hope and healing.
Mental health is something that affects us all. We each feel stress, anxiety, joy, and various other emotions that contribute to the state of our mental health. And while taking care of our mental health is vital to our overall well-being, it’s a topic that’s often brushed under the rug or left unaddressed in our churches.
The lack of discussion on mental health in the church can make it challenging for individuals to seek needed help and support—from one of the best places to receive hope and healing.
This is why it's important to talk more about mental health at church.
Here are three reasons to talk about mental health on a Sunday:
Talking about Mental Health Reduces Its Stigma
Mental health stigma is still prevalent in our society, especially in churches. This stigma can create a significant barrier for individuals who need help. People may feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their mental health challenges, preventing them from seeking professional help or even talking to their friends and family. Mental health stigma can also result in discrimination, which only further exacerbates a person's mental health problems.
By openly discussing mental health in church, we can reduce the stigma surrounding it. When church leaders openly discuss the importance of mental health, they send a message that it’s okay to talk about these challenges. People may feel more comfortable opening up and sharing their experiences, which can be incredibly healing. When people realize they are not alone in their struggles, it reduces the shame and isolation that often accompany mental health problems.
Talking about Mental Health Opens Doors to Provide Support
Many people with mental health challenges may feel like no one understands what they're going through, or that they have nowhere to turn. However, when churches openly discuss mental health, they provide much-needed support to those who need it. Church leaders can offer resources, such as counseling services or support groups, for people struggling with mental health issues. Churches can also provide a safe space for people to talk about their experiences and find comfort in the support of others.
Knowing there’s a community of people who care about your mental health can make a significant difference in how you view your mental health challenges. You no longer feel alone or isolated. When churches talk openly about mental health, it also encourages individuals to seek professional help when needed, knowing they have the support of their church community.
Talking about Mental Health Promotes Mental Wellness
Talking about mental health on a Sunday at church can also promote mental wellness. Churches can provide valuable education and resources to help people maintain good mental health. For example, churches could offer workshops on stress management, healthy coping mechanisms, and self-care. Churches can also provide access to mental health professionals, who can offer guidance on how to maintain good mental health.
By promoting mental wellness, churches can help prevent mental health problems from developing in the first place. When people have the tools and resources to manage stress and maintain good mental health, they are less likely to experience mental health problems. This can lead to a happier, healthier community overall.
Churches have the unique opportunity to provide a safe place for people to talk about their mental health challenges and receive the support and resources they need. Mental Health Sunday (which can occur on any Sunday) is an excellent opportunity for churches to enter this conversation.
If you’re interested in learning more, Hope Made Strong has created an entire toolkit for your weekend programming (and beyond). Visit MentalHealthSunday.com for sermon notes, graphics, worship sets, devotionals, and many more resources.
Talking about Mental Health in church is not always the norm, but we hope it will be soon. As we learn how to better reflect the love and hope of Jesus, we find He does not shy away from those who are hurting and brokenhearted. Instead, He draws near.
Let’s do the same.
Hope Made Strong and Spiritual First Aid are offering a free virtual training event for pastors, church leaders, and volunteers: the Church Mental Health Summit. During the Church Mental Health Summit, participants will be equipped with practical tools, engage with Biblically-based resources, and learn research-developed strategies to support mental health. With over 50 speakers, this event is a great opportunity to access high-quality, affordable training focusing on knowledge growth, skills development, and leaders' wellbeing.
As the founder of Hope Made Strong and the Church Mental Health Summit, Laura Howe is a mental health clinician and a community development strategist for churches that want to transform their community with care ministries. She also hosts the Care Ministry Podcast. Laura specializes in supporting local church leaders to overcome and prevent burnout, create effective and sustainable care ministries, and grow their community impact and influence.