The Barna Study is here:
Millions of Americans face mental illness each year, according to NAMI. Yet the stigma surrounding mental health is acutely felt—even in the Church, which has at times struggled in its messaging on the issue.
This is despite the fact that, according to new Barna data, Americans by far have positive experiences with counseling—a practice that helps them heal from trauma, facilitate mental health, build strong relationships and change destructive patterns of thinking.
In a new study, Barna wanted to know just how many American adults are engaging in counseling and how they feel about the practice.
The article about the study:
By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter | Feb 28, 2018 11:01 AM
Non-Christians are more than twice as likely to acknowledge seeking counseling for mental health issues than practicing Christians, according to a recent study by the Barna Group.
In a report released Tuesday, Barna found that 33 percent of surveyed non-Christians said they have sought counseling, versus 15 percent of respondents who identified as practicing Christians.
“[T]here’s a chance some of the faithful are simply confident in their mental health — after all, science confirms that religious belief and a loving, stable community can be healing and have psychological benefits,” explained the report.
“[However] this may also reflect the strength of stigma within Christian circles, as many churches have been slower to accept mental illness as a legitimate struggle requiring professional help.”
…The report sought to analyze the level of stigma within American society toward mental health counseling, especially considering how “even in the Church” the “stigma surrounding mental health is acutely felt.”
…In recent years, there has been an increased focus by some on tackling the apparent stigma within American churches toward seeking mental health counseling.
At the 2017 Parenting Teens Summit, pastor and author Jarrid Wilson explained that he believed churches have not done enough to address the needs of members who suffer from mental illness.
“Part of the reason I didn’t get help or didn’t ask for help during my early teenage years was because I felt like if I said I was depressed or if I said I was hurting I was going to be looked at as someone who must not have enough faith in God, because I just need to pray more and my depression should go away,” said Wilson, who himself has battled depression.
“Mind you, nobody actually said that, but that was the perceived ethos. That’s the ethos that’s been exuding from where I was and so, what we have to do is we have to shirk away the stigma that surrounds mental health.”
As to the portion of the article I placed in bold-face type:
I’m leaning towards the stigma, or the false reassurances of many Christians that if one just has faith, reads the Bible (or engages in other spiritual activity or views) that one cannot get a mental health disorder to begin with, or for those who acknowledge such a thing, that if one practices spiritual disciplines one will be supernaturally healed.
I had anxiety and depression for many years, and the Christian prescribed method (prayer, faith, bible reading, church attendance and so on) is false – it did not work for me, and I’ve not seen it work for many others.
You Can Write Your Way Out of an Emotional Funk. Here’s How. by Susan David