The depression rate worldwide is on a continual rise and Christians are not immune.
With multiple headlines of pastors who died by suicide throughout the United States, The Christian Post decided to reach out to ministers to talk about how they combat their darkest moments.
…Despite the increasing notice of depression and suicide nationally, the resources to help people in the church struggling with these thoughts or feelings are scarce.
According to the World Health Organization, depression at its worst leads to suicide and it affects 300 million people worldwide.
It’s estimated that 15 percent of people will experience depression at some point in their adult lives.
A 2019 survey shows a diverse mix of countries with the highest suicide rates. Among the top four are: Lithuania, Russia, Guyana, and South Korea. The U.S. is No. 27 on the list. More people reportedly die of suicide than homicide in America.
…Reports show that more than 253 million prescriptions were written for antidepressants in the U.S. The percentage of those diagnosed with some form of distress jumps by 30% every year.
Christian pastors and music ministers offered advice and practical tools they use to combat the widespread outbreak of depression and anxiety.
….Legendary contemporary Christian artist Steven Cutis Chapman knows all too well what suffering from depression is like.
The singer lost his youngest daughter, Maria Sue Chapman, in a tragic car incident in front of their family home in 2008. And along with having to face the grief of it all, his wife, Mary Beth, has battled “chronic depression” for years and continues to struggle.
The Grammy Award-winning musician agrees that Christians should apply spiritual remedies and natural ones.
“If you’re battling with that, just like you would be battling with cancer or with diabetes or with any other illness, you pray for those, you pray the same. But there’s some stigma that says, ‘mental illness, you just need to pull yourself up and pray and trust God more.’ I think just being truthful about the reality that we need a good therapist, we need a good psychiatrist, all of that,” Chapman told CP in a recent interview in which he also discussed his new album, Deeper Roots.
“God’s a God of chemistry as much as He’s a God of anything else. So medicine that can help people is important. I think all of those things are just important for us to address,” he said.
….What could be causing the increase of depression and suicide?
Depression is running rampant in Gen Z and Gen Y with peopledying by suicide once every 40 seconds. Courson believes there’s one major contributor as to why there are “123 suicides per day” in the U.S.
“The data show this is partially due to social media,” Courson said. “When we compare our behind the scenes with other people’s highlight reels and do so at unfair time intervals. We get swept up in a whirl of illusions. All that comparison steals our joy.”
The cure to social media grief is to “scroll less and live more,” he advised, without worrying about what others online are doing.
“When it comes to social media it would do us well to take it with a grain of salt and not get so worked up about it. We should take a whole lot more things a whole lot less seriously. After all, angels can fly because they take themselves lightly,” he quipped.
…What can the church do to help?
Chapman believes people of faith have to get rid of the idea that depression is a “season” that people get over.
“That language sometimes sets us up as Christians to say, ‘I better not talk about it until I have the victory.’ And in the process, so many people are just being devastated by [depression].”
The popular singer/songwriter referenced poet and hymnodist William Cowper who wrote, “God moves in mysterious ways” and still suffered greatly.
“So many of these great people of the faith battled depression deeply, Cowper tried to take his life on several occasions but we don’t hear those stories or at least I didn’t grow up hearing those because you sing about the victory,” Chapman noted.
“That sets us up, especially in the church, to not want to address mental illness because certainly, ‘you just need to pray more and be a better Christian.’ And well, from experience in my life, and my wife, and our journey, that’s not God’s heart for us to address it that way.”
….To those who have felt let down or misunderstood by the church, Courson wants them to know he has been there also, along with many of the world’s greats.