The show today is all about why it’s important to talk about mental health from the pulpit.
At the time this episode airs we are just a few days from May, which happens to be Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a prime opportunity to talk about mental health at church.
Mental Health Sunday – Website
Mental Health First Aid – Website
Spiritual First Aid – Website
3 common reasons why people don’t talk about Mental Health
- People struggle with reconciling if mental health is a medical issue, spiritual or human experience.
- Leaders don’t want to open a can of worms that they can’t support.
- Pastors feel ill-equipped to oversee or offer support regarding mental health.
If you don’t know where to start in talking about Mental Health grab the MentalHealthSunday.com resource
In collaboration with other mission-minded organizations, I’m excited to launch the Mental Health Sunday resource Pack. This is an all-in-one resource that gives you everything you need to promote, prepare, and present a message on mental health and even continue the conversation with engagement strategies.
This resource is free to download, with a premium version available that allows you to customize all the graphics for your church.
This resource allows you to overcome these barriers by giving you sermon notes, research tools, graphics, a 7-day devotional and a small group curriculum for you to draw from in creating your message.
Talking about mental health from the pulpit provides 4 things
- Creates safe
- Offers hope
Mental health Stigma is attributing negative characteristics or stereotypes to an individual because of bias’ and negative beliefs about those who struggle with mental health. Stigma breeds shame and deters people from reaching out to get support.
By talking about mental health from the platform and identifying that mental illness is not a result of sin or failure and that everyone experiences mental you are decreasing stigma by challenging the stereotype.
Mental health struggles and illness are not from being lazy, not praying enough. It’s not an issue for those other people, but it’s a reality for all of us.
Validation is the recognition and acceptance of another person’s internal experience as being valid.
It’s important to distinguish that Validation does not mean agreeing with or supporting one’s feelings or thoughts. Validation is recognizing that what someone is experiencing is real and impactful for them. Regardless of who you are supporting validation communicates that they are important to you and you care about their thoughts and feelings and experiences. Validation also shows the other person that you are there for them.
When you speak of mental health in a compassionate way from the pulpit, recognize that everyone, including you have had mental health struggles. You are validating to others that #1 mental health is real, and #2 that it is hard. Hearing that others have struggled with similar issues offers support and relieves loneliness. It builds connection and a sense of belonging.
Creates safe spaces
Historically people have not been treated well if they are struggling with mental health. It could have been from bullying, discrimination from their friends and family or perhaps their job didn’t support them or maybe a church could have even blamed them for their struggles.
By speaking about mental health in a compassionate way, and normalizing it as an issue of being human, pastors are creating safe spaces for people to seek support. If the pastor can talk about mental health in a way that makes me feel accepted, and not judged, then maybe I can take down my guard and be vulnerable with them.
Mental health is health. We all struggle. And by bringing the message from the stage you are saying that you won’t judge, bully, punish or blame them for being human.
People can feel isolated, ashamed, and blamed when they struggle with depression, anxiety, self-hatred, anger or any other mental health struggle. But when you share the message of grace and resilience that is found in the Bible there is Hope. When you authentically share that you have experienced mental health struggles and tell how God has helped you overcome then people see that they too can overcome.
It can be hard to share that as a leader you have struggled. But while people admire strength they relate to struggle.
The theme of the Mental Health Sunday resource pack is building resilience and strengthening Hope. With it comes practical strategies that help build resilience that prevents people from getting stuck in mental health struggles.
As a pastor, you want to share a hope-filled message that gives people practical takeaways. And while it’s helpful to say “it’s okay to not be okay” it needs to be based on scriptures that point to Christ and give people strategies to overcome.
If you need help in creating a message that is unique for your community, addresses mental health and offers hope then I recommend grabbing the Mental Health Sunday resource pack.
There can barriers to talking about mental health from the pulpit. But the benefits are critical for people. Stigma is broken, people feel that they belong and are validated, you create a safe place for people to seek support and you offer hope in a situation that has been dark hidden.
Proverbs 18:21 says. There is life in the power of the tongue. The words you speak from the pulpit can bring light and life to all those who listen. It could be the first time anyone was able to put words to what their soul has been desperate for. Ministry leaders, it is vitally important to talk about mental health from the pulpit.
And if you don’t know where to start. Grab the free resources at MentalHealthSunday.com
CONNECT WITH HOPE MADE STRONG
Join the Church Mental Health Facebook Group! In the Facebook group, we chat about how to care for others, what are your challenges as well as share tons of resources. This is a great community of pastors, clinicians, and those with lived experience and we want to get to know you.