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Christian Mental Health Statistics

Christian Mental Health Statistics

Since 1974, the United States has observed National Suicide Prevention Month in the month of September. Not only does this bring much needed awareness for Christians who are suffering from mental health issues, but it also provides an opportunity for the church and/or faith-based organizations to talk about an important topic that affects people more than we often realize or like to admit.

“Depression was once a topic reserved for ‘other people,’” Former LifeWay President and CEO Thom S. Rainer wrote in a Facts & Trends issue on mental health. He goes on to say, “The truth is, pastors are as likely as other Americans to experience mental illness.”

Here are 13 statistics from several LifeWay Research studies that may help you better understand the issue of mental health and the people in your church:

Christian Mental Health Statistics:

  • 23 percent of pastors acknowledge they have personally struggled with a mental illness.

  • 49 percent of pastors say they rarely or never speak to their congregation about mental illness.

  • 27 percent of churches have a plan to assist families affected by mental illness.

  • 65 percent of churchgoing family members of those with mental illness want their church to talk openly about mental illness.

  • 59 percent of those actually suffering from mental illness say the same.

  • 53 percent of churchgoers with mental illness say the church has been supportive.

  • 76 percent of churchgoers say suicide is a problem that needs to be addressed in their community.

  • 32 percent of churchgoers say a close acquaintance or family member has died by suicide.

  • 80 percent of pastors say their church is equipped to assist someone who is threatening to take his or her own life.

  • 92 percent of pastors say their church is equipped to care for the family that experiences the suicide of a loved one.

  • 4 percent of churchgoers who lost a loved one to suicide say church leaders were aware of their loved one’s struggles.

  • 68 percent of Americans feel they would be welcome in church if they were mentally ill.

  • 35 percent of Americans say mental illness could be overcome with Bible study and prayer alone.

Christians still have a long way to go in regards to the conversation surrounding mental health, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do SOMETHING about it today. By using our voice, platforms and influence, we can be the change needed to elevate the much needed conversation surrounding mental health within the local church, faith-based organizations, and beyond.

Over 800,000 people a year lose their lives to suicide, and we believe it’s about time Christians start doing something about it.

—Jarrid Wilson, Founder

Putting An End To Overthinking & Self-Sabotage

Putting An End To Overthinking & Self-Sabotage

I let anxiety keep me from living my life.

It’s currently 1:35 am and I am wide awake. Thinking. Some nights are like this. I guess I do all my critical self-evaluation after midnight. That’s normal, right? After the dust of the day has settled, my brain goes wild. It doesn’t matter if I am having the best day or the worst, as soon as I climb into my bed, I start to think. And think. And think.

It’s safe to say, I can be dweller. Not as bad as I once was, but I always have been to some degree. Sometimes out of fear. Sometimes due to anxiety. And many times from a place of true logic. Most of the time it boils down to the fact, I am a feeler. I am insanely sensitive; something I used to attempt to hide because it made me feel weak. In truth, I love having a sensitive heart. It allows me to love deeply, care compassionately for just about anyone or anything, and keeps me balanced and self-aware. Sometimes too self-aware, to the point I can talk myself out of almost anything. When I get to this point, I can pretty much convince myself, or at least my mind, exactly what the right answer is.

Tonight, I am stewing over why I think so much. Counterproductive, I know. I’ve thought of that. I was having a conversation with one of my best friends about how sometimes I think so much into something, I miss out on a potentially good thing because I’ve made up my mind before I even get started. I know this about myself, but there’s something to be said when a true friend lays that out on the table, especially when you know it’s coming from a place of love. I also know that I’ve likely shaved years off my life due to stress, mostly over matters that always sort themselves out. I’m confident I’ve missed out on some pretty great experiences and relationships due to this ingrained poor habit.

I consider myself a very self-aware person, which is good, but I know when I’m going down a rabbit hole. This dwelling trait I’ve developed over the past 20+ years has been one of the most difficult habits to shake. The good news? I’ve made great progress because I’ve narrowed down what triggers this self-destructive behavior. I thought (there I go again) I would share what I believe are the deeper issues that lead to the relentless attack on our minds.

1. Fear

I trust my judgment, but I’m realizing that I don’t feel confident making any sort of decision until I am absolutely certain it won’t hurt me or anyone involved. I’m a feeler, remember? I am terrified to get hurt or hurt someone I care about. So, unless I am confident that I can commit to something or someone, I am too scared to take a leap of faith. I hold back. I put up a brick wall. I’ve done this as far back as I can remember, especially in relationships….and most certainly in the beginning of one.

Why?


Because the fear of abandonment is scarier to me than not loving at all. But you know what that’s done for me? Nothing. I spend so much time thinking about a particular situation, I end up missing the good moments or ruining the outcome. I overthink. I think until I’ve come up with a 100 different reasons why something is, or isn’t for that matter, a bad idea. It was time for a change and I made one. I’ll get to that in a minute.

2. Lack of Confidence & Lack of Trust

Like everyone, I have flaws. I have insecurities. I have layers that, at times, I would prefer to keep to myself. This stems from a lack of confidence that I may not be lovable to the other person. Which is absolutely absurd, but human nature. We all want to be loved, but let’s face it, if you want to find your husband, or wife, you’re likely going to have to date a few of the wrong people before you meet the right person. Just because it doesn’t work out with Joe Schmo, doesn’t make you unlovable, it makes you human. It’s called dating for a reason.

Again…Why?


It goes right back to the fear. In this world, it seems nothing lasts forever and that scares me more than almost anything. Even more than spiders scare me. There is one thing I’m confident of; if I keep letting what our culture shows me to define my thoughts on my personal life, I am going to end up in a very sad place.

So, I spent time learning how to love and believe in myself to the point that when something doesn’t work out, I understand it’s not because I’m not capable of achieving that thing and it certainly isn’t because I’m not lovable. With the help of Jesus and self-reflection, I’m now securely rooted in my belief of what sets my future apart from “the world”. I’m a follower of Jesus. If I never get married that’s okay. But if, and when I do, my person will have the same understanding of what committed love looks like. If both me and my husband love God first, it will be very hard not to love each other well.

3. Control

This is a big one. When you give your heart to something or someone, you’re giving up control. You can’t fully love someone and still have control of your heart; not to the extent you may want. It’s scary. I want to control my heart. One of my favorite parts of the book The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller quotes C.S. Lewis to depict the vulnerability that love takes.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
Every time I read that, it resonates straight to my scared and broken heart.

So, how did I change this? And if you deal with the same thing, how can you change?

1. Get out of your head. 

Fear is the opposite of faith. It’s essentially telling God you don’t trust him. Sure, you have to make wise choices, but you don’t have to worry yourself sick because there’s a chance you could make the wrong decision. Although I’ve seen loved ones get abandoned, I’ve never personally been abandoned by anyone. No family member, no friend, no boyfriend. It’s funny the way fear works. Most of the time, what we fear most, never happens. The fact that I have so much going on in my head, is where the problem lies. I wish I could tell you I take most of my worries to the Lord first, but that wouldn’t be truthful. I think. I over-analyze. I talk about it with my sister. I think. I research. THEN I take it to God. But, when I put God before my fear, the other steps never get any face time.

Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.

2. Love Jesus more than you love anything else. 


In the book, Uninvited, Lisa Terkeurst makes numerous valid points about fear, rejection and the truth about how to overcome it. There’s only one way. God.

In this book, she says, “God must be your fortress. A fortress is a strong, high place. It’s the place God lifts you up so fear can no longer have access to you. Fear can’t catch what it can no longer reach. What a comfort is this. God lifts you high like this when you lift your soul in worship of His holy name.” 

Finding the truth in the fact that God is the only one who can love you the way you’re truly desiring is the first step to overcoming fear, low self-esteem and the need for control. When you’ve mastered that concept and begin living like that, life decisions don’t seem so scary.

When you finally love the Lord more than you love the idea of love, you’ll stop putting unrealistic expectations onto another imperfect human. That guy you’re dating isn’t designed to make you feel so loved that his bad day and lack of attention can utterly derail you. It’s not fair to expect him to make you feel 100% loved, 100% of the time. It’s also not possible, so until you come to terms with that, you’re going continue to be let down and grabbing for the control in order to feel secure again. What I can assure you of is, if you aren’t sowing into your relationship with God, then that sick habit of needing the perfect guy is going to flare up, over and over.

Look, we’re never going to conquer perfection. You’re not. I’m not. He’s not. AND THAT’S OKAY. But, we can change our habits that hinder our ability to love well. Once I was able to put my fears and doubts to rest, I was capable of loving my friends, family and a significant other in a much healthier and happier manner. Cast your burdens on the Lord and let the rest fall into place. I promise you’ll find a peace that cannot be overcome by fear in this world we live in.

Aimee Wathen

http://balancedchaos.org

10 Statistics You Didn't Know About Suicide

10 Statistics You Didn't Know About Suicide

10 STATISTICS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT SUICIDE

1. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

2. Each year 42,773 Americans die by suicide.

3. For every suicide, 25 people attempt. 

4. On average, there are 117 suicides per day.

5. Over one million people die by suicide worldwide each year.

6. On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.

7. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-24. 

8. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined.

9. Four out of Five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.

10. Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7th-12th.

—Anthem of Hope

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please visit our 24/7 Anthem of Hope LiveChat. 

 

 

Your Journey May Be Dark, But That Doesn't Mean It's Hopeless

Your Journey May Be Dark, But That Doesn't Mean It's Hopeless

Who have I become?

I remember sitting in my room one night after I had just got home from smoking weed and drinking a little too much with a group of people that I had convinced myself were real friends. I was about nineteen years old and still trying to navigate my purpose in life as most of us do. As I sat in my bed and stared at the wall with glossy eyes and tears beginning to stream down my face, I remember thinking to myself, "This is hopeless." I then walked into the bathroom and proceeded to look at myself mirror. I remember being confused at who I saw staring back at me. 

"This isn't me," 

I mumbled under my breath.

"Who have I become?" 

I thought to myself. 

I had been going down this dark road for quite some time now. I wasn't the person God created me to be. I was doing things I swore I'd never do, I was becoming a person I swore I'd never become, I was spending time with people I swore I'd never spend time with, and I was digging myself a hole that eventually felt too deep to climb out of. I had convinced myself that there was no way out of this darkness. I felt stuck. I was depressed, lonely, searching for worth in all the wrong places, and I was sure that God wanted nothing to do with me. 

We all go through dark times. 

Depression does that to you. Anxiety can do that to you. Darkness can do that to you. You begin convincing yourself that darkness actually means hopelessness. But it doesn't. This couldn't be any farther from the truth. The reality is we all go through dark times in life. And although our darkness may look and feel different depending on the person, this doesn't make hope any less obtainable, no matter how broken and lifeless one may feel. 

Hopeless is how I spent most of my life. But what I perceived as hopelessness was actually just darkness in disguise. It wasn't until I learned to drop my guard, admit that it was okay to not be okay, share my hurt with others, and grab hold of God that things started to change for me. The darkness started to subside, and hope began infiltrating every crevice of my life. It wasn't immediate. It took time. And nor did it prevent darkness from trying to control me on a daily basis. But it was there, and it was present. 

Hope is one of those things we can't outrun no matter how quick and witty we think we are. It's always one step ahead of us, waiting to be seen and grabbed hold of.  God's love, regardless if you believe in it or not, is a light in dark and weary times. It's a lighthouse to a ship lost in a sea of colossal waves, and life-raft for those who are sinking. 

Hope is available.

Your life has a purpose no matter how broken you think it may be. And although "darkness" is something you might struggle with throughout your life, you must always remember that the hope of God is their to grab hold of in times of need. 

—Jarrid Wilson