“The Truth Sets Us Free”: Author and Ordained Minister on Eliminating Mental Health Stigma in the Church

It is well known that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disastrous impact on the mental health of our country.

Depression, anxiety and suicide are just a few of the conditions that have exploded over the past two years and the church is no exception.

Dr. Thema Bryant appeared on CBN’s “Healthy Living” to talk more about mental health issues in the church.

Bryant, who is an ordained minister and president-elect of the American Psychological Association, said it’s important to erase the misconception that “good” Christians don’t have problems.

She is the author of Reunion: overcome fear and trauma to find your whole and authentic identitywhich examines how people can begin to heal from traumatic experiences.

“I think it goes along with this prosperity gospel that if you love God you’ll be rich, if you love God you’ll be happy everyday and that’s just not true and doesn’t reflect what we know from the Bible. And so we see the despair among the prophets, we see the despair and the anxiety and the insecurity among the disciples, we see the grief of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane,” Dr. Bryant explained. “When we really look at the text, it gives us permission to not only honor the sanctity of our lives, but also our humanity. So, as Christians, we don’t want to operate in denial, we know the truth sets us free, and so we want to be honest about our times of grief, frustration, depression, fatigue, it all makes part of our trip.”

Dr. Bryant pointed out that some churches don’t even want to discuss mental health issues, which only hinders the healing process.

“The things we can’t name, we can never overcome. If we don’t recognize the mountain, how the hell are we going to deal with the mountain? And so our denial doesn’t save us, it just allows it to grow, ” she says. “We can think of the physical example of cancer that cancer can grow in the body and one of the keys to survival is early detection and I would say the same is true in terms of mental health.”

To watch Dr. Bryant’s full interview, click here.

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Lola R. McClure