Are you wondering if God is concerned with your mental health? The Bible says God will provide comfort to the suffering and meet the needs of the broken hearted.
We’re turning our attention to the Mental Health of Australians today with a snapshot of where things are at, and what it means when you hold Christian faith.
The most prevalent mental illnesses in Australia are depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. You might be surprised that 4.3 million people received mental health related prescriptions in 2018/2019.
$10.6 Billion was spent on Mental Health related expenditure and there are almost 1700 specialised mental health facilities providing care in Australia.
So what are the benefits of being a Christian as we experienced widespread restrictions, isolation and ‘lockdowns’?
How does it affect the Christian when there is an overnight loss of employment and social interaction? What about the added stress of moving to remote work or schooling?
What about the stress, confusion and anger suffered by many who experienced depression and substance abuse?
And what can we glean from biblical accounts about Mental Health?
Dr Kuruvilla George (KG) joined Neil Johnson on Vision’s 20Twenty program for an in depth conversation about the effects of mental health on Christians.
“There has always been a stigma amongst Christians about mental health,” KG says. “When I first started out, I was often asked how I as a Christian could be involved in such a non-Christian field of medicine. Unfortunately mental health has been tarnished, but it is no less a Christian field of medicine than anything else. God led me to do psychiatry, and I have a passion to try and help reduce the stigma within churches.”
KG continues, “There is more to good health than just the physical. You need a healthy mind and spirit too. We want to enjoy good relationships and feel spiritually at peace. Sadly, faith has been excluded in secular medical training. Faith and medicine often used to be talked about together, and now there is some research being done into the effect of faith on our health as a whole. Many patients have faith as an important component of their life.”
KG believes that mental health has always been a major public health burden on health care systems all over the world. KG continues, “Mental health has always been at the bottom of government priorities. But people are now recognising that it has been inadequately dealt with. And there is much that the Christian community can do to help break down the stigma.”
“Someone who suffers from mental health issues is not more sinful than someone who doesn’t. Both the mind and the body need special treatment,” KG says.
“Being a Christian doesn’t mean we are no longer vulnerable to illness, and that includes both physical and mental issues. We are not specially protected from these things. All of us have some degree of trauma that has happened to us, and we can’t deny it will have an impact on our lives.”
KG says, “Emotional pain is part of life. As Christians we do have hope, but we still have to go through the emotional pain and suffering. We all carry vulnerabilities, and biological, social, psychological and lifestyle issues are all factors in how we respond to situations and various treatments.
“We have to be willing to admit what we are feeling, but also to ask how do we rise above it. That is where our faith comes in to play. We start to look at the impact of faith on our daily life. We will always have challenges, but when we begin to realise that there is a limit to what we can do, we learn to depend on God instead of ourselves.”
Continue listening to KG’s conversation with Neil below, as they encourage Vision listeners to understand the connection between their physical and mental health, and break through the stigma.