Lighting the Darkness – Depression and the Church
Depression has been deemed by the World Health Organization as the most disabling illness worldwide, affecting adults, children and adolescents. Diagnosed as a medical condition, it is treatable through a combination of psychotherapy, medicine and support systems. Unfortunately, in the Christian community, it is often viewed exclusively as a spiritual issue (not having enough faith, or not having the balance in our Christian life that God intended). In fact, feelings of depression and/or sadness do not necessarily mean we are doing something “wrong” in the Christian life. Because the world is not as it should be, due to the fall, a certain degree of depressive mood or sadness will always be a part of the Christian life. We see in Scripture that many of God’s people, including Christ, wept and experienced sadness. It is a common part of the Christian experience. In addition, because our bodies are imperfect, various parts of our bodies – including our brain – can be affected in ways that have nothing to do with us thinking or doing things “wrong.” Christ in John 10:10 says “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” This includes both mental and physical healing and the use of medical resources where appropriate.
This conference brought together local Church leaders, distinguished psychiatrists and mental health professionals of the Christian faith, to provide education, spiritual direction and reduce the stigma surrounding those who suffer and those who support those suffering from the destructive illness of depression. Friends Church, Yorba Linda, represents the Friends denomination with a legacy of faith in Christ and social action, including a legacy of advocacy for healing and reducing the stigma of mental illness. The Christian Medical and Dental Association is a nationwide organization of over 19,000 Christian health care professionals, providing resources, networking opportunities, education and a public voice for Christian healthcare students and professionals. The Psychiatry Section of the CMDA is comprised of psychiatrists with a Christian faith who strive to promote fellowship and provide community to support and encourage Christian physicians in the practice of psychiatry, as they explore the relationship between their faith and professional practice. They also promote within the church the knowledge and understanding of valid psychiatric approaches to mental health and healing, consistent with Christ’s redemptive love.
Agenda and Media for Viewing
We are grateful to the presenters and attendees who participated in this endeavor. We pray that it is greatly used within the church and by individuals struggling with mental illnesses. If individual assistance is needed, please contact your local church or the Psychiatry Section Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.