“Does struggling with my mental health mean I have a lack of faith, and should I focus on my spiritual health instead?”
As a Christian therapist, I hear this question all the time.
While it saddens my heart to be reminded that this is what the church has taught its people, it also gives me a chance to respond with a powerful truth.
It’s a truth that more Christians need to hear, and here it is:
God is just as concerned with our mental health as He is with our spiritual health.God is just as concerned with our mental health as He is with our spiritual health.
The Church and Mental Health
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2 HCSB
While the church thinks we wouldn’t have mental health issues if our spiritual health were strong, God knows that the two aren’t interlinked.
You can have strong faith and weak mental health, just like you can have strong faith and weak physical health.
Both can happen as a result of the circumstances of life or biology.
While having faith is incredibly helpful in healing them both, a lack of faith does not cause any of them.
Mental health is an extremely complex issue, which might be the reason the church doesn’t talk about it enough, but the Bible does contain wisdom on the topic.
The Bible has a lot to say about our thoughts and emotions, with insight into how we can deal with them in a way that honors God.
There are many verses that speak about mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and suicide.
There are also several scriptures that offer hope and healing.
In this post, we’ll be discussing all things mental health and the Bible.
Does the Bible Address Mental Health Issues?
“For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6 HCSB
The Bible was written thousands of years ago, and as such, it does not directly address mental health issues as we understand them today.
However, many Bible passages speak to the importance of a healthy mind and maintaining a positive outlook.
For example, Philippians 4:8 NIV instructs believers to “fix their thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, to think on things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
This verse reminds us that our thoughts have a direct impact on our mental health, and we should be intentional about what we allow into our minds.
Additionally, 1 Peter 5:7 NIV says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
This verse shows us that God is concerned with our mental well-being and is willing to help us with our anxiety and worry.
So while the Bible may not directly address mental health, scripture suggests that God is fully aware of it and ever willing to help us get through it.While the Bible may not directly address mental health, scripture suggests that God is fully aware of it and ever willing to help us get through it.
Who Had Mental Health Issues in the Bible?
“My soul has been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is.” – Lamentations 3:17 HCSB
Many people in the Bible likely had mental health issues.
Here are two examples of mental health issues in popular faith-filled Bible characters:
Elijah was a great man in the Bible who executed incredible miracles as a prophet of God.
He was the one who stood in for all the prophets of God during Christ’s transfiguration.
Yet still, he collapsed under a tree, exhausted and overwhelmed, begging for God to take his life (1 Kgs 19:4).
Known as the man after God’s own heart, even David struggled with mental health issues which we would likely consider depression today.
In Psalm 55:4-5 HCSB, he wrote, “My heart shudders within me; terrors of death sweep over me. Fear and trembling grip me; horror has overwhelmed me.”
These are just two of many examples in the Bible which serve as proof that mental health issues and faith in God can co-exist.
These men loved God and had great faith; still, they had mental health issues because they were human.Elijah and David loved God and had great faith; still, they had mental health issues because they were human.
How to Know If You’re Struggling with Your Mental Health
“Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind.” – Psalm 26:2 HCSB
If you aren’t sure if you’re struggling with your mental health, here are 11 signs:
1. Feeling restless and agitated
2. Changes in appetite or eating habits
3. Withdrawing from friends and family
4. Living a life inconsistent with your values
5. Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep
6. Having guilt and shame regarding past events
7. Feeling down or hopeless more often than not
8. Losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy
9. Feeling forgetful or having difficulty concentrating
10. Relieving past events either through daydreams, nightmares or flashbacks
11. Experiencing thoughts of death or suicide ( If you have plans to end your life, please go to the nearest emergency room or call 911).
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, be sure to follow the tips below and/or check in with a mental health therapist.Here are 11 signs you may be struggling with mental health issues.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health as a Christian
“Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.” – Colossians 3:2 HCSB
There are many things that we, as Christians, can do to take care of our mental health.
Here are a few tips:
1 – Spend time with God (Ps 63:1-2).
Whether it is praying regularly, reading your Bible, spending time singing worship music, or just sitting in the presence of God—the best way you can take care of your mental health is by spending time with God.
When we spend time with God, He has a way of bringing peace and calm in the midst of life’s chaos.
Science has shown that spending time with God helps reduce stress and anxiety, promotes healing and well-being, and provides strength and guidance in difficult times.
2 – Identify Your Feelings (1 Cor 14:33).
Even when we feel overwhelmed, we can find peace in God because He gave us all of our feelings for a purpose.
It is important to identify our emotions, as well as our physical feelings.
Take ten seconds to scan your body from head to toe and just notice your emotional and physical feelings.
Are you pleased, sad, furious, afraid, or feeling something else entirely?
Is there any tension or discomfort in your body?
Once you have identified your feelings, you can begin working through them.It is important to identify what emotions we are feeling, as well as what physical feelings we are feeling in our body.
3 – Dissect Your Automatic Thoughts and Feelings (2 Cor 10:5).
Our first reaction may be to push them away or try to ignore them.
However, if we take a step back and study our thoughts and feelings, we may find a beneficial message inside them.
Our thoughts and emotions are frequently attempting to communicate with us.
They could be warning us of a prospective danger or assisting us in remembering a previous wrong.
We may be able to better comprehend ourselves and the world around us if we learn to listen to our thoughts and emotions.
Choose to investigate your thoughts as thoroughly as possible to prevent the unpleasant consequences of ineffective thinking.We may be able to better comprehend ourselves and the world around us if we learn to listen to our thoughts and emotions.
4 – Spend Time with Supportive People (1 Thess 5:11).
Spending time with supportive people is important for your mental health.
These people can provide a listening ear, offer helpful advice, and be a shoulder to cry on.
Supportive people can be found in your family, friends, church, or co-workers.
It’s important to find people who make you feel comfortable and safe.
These people will help you through tough times and be there to celebrate your victories.
If you feel lonely or down, reach out to your support network.
Spend time with these people and let them help you improve your mental health.
5 – Seek Professional Help (Mt 10:24).
Mental health problems can be debilitating, but with the right help, you can start to feel better.
There are many qualified Christian counselors and therapists that can help you work through your struggles to find hope and healing.
You do not need to suffer in silence.
Find a Christian therapist near you by either searching our database or speaking to your pastor or a trusted friend for a referral.
Seeing a professional really can make all the difference.Mental health problems can be debilitating, but with the right help, you can start to feel better.
Your Journey to Better Mental Health
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2 HCSB
As you begin your journey to better mental health, know that the Bible contains verses that can help you deal with mental health issues.
It will help you begin the healing process by providing hope, direction, and comfort.
Remember, God doesn’t want you to conceal your brokenness.
He wants you to come clean. He wants you to seek His help and the help of other Christians.
Go to Him in prayer, and He will give you the wisdom and strength to take the next step.
– Corine Williams, Ph.D.
Corine Williams, Ph.D. is the founder of therapyforchristians.com, a website dedicated to increasing mental health awareness in the Christian community. She is also the author of It is Well: A Guided Christian Journal which contains 70 activities to help you make peace with your past, take control of your emotions, and live a life that honors God. You can find out more about her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.