In the world we find ourselves in we all know people who grapple with stress, anxiety, and feelings of despondency— or perhaps we are familiar with them ourselves — a reality increasingly acknowledged within Christian circles. 

As a church leader, I often encounter these struggles in people’s spiritual journeys. While mental health conversations might have previously been sidestepped within faith communities, there’s a growing recognition of the necessity to address these issues with compassion and empathy. At times, the tension between our faith and apprehensions may overshadow the intricate nuances of mental health. We might even hesitate to speak out, fearing condemnation for not fully entrusting our concerns to Christ.

However, I firmly believe that Christ can meet us in these moments of uncertainty, offering hope, peace and joy amidst our struggles.

In Christianity, hope is a big deal, and looking at Jesus’ perspective on mental health can give comfort and guidance to those who are struggling.

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What did Jesus teach?

Jesus taught a lot about love and compassion for everyone, no matter what they were going through. He showed this love by helping all sorts of people, including those who were sick or feeling low. Instead of pushing them away or judging them, He showed care, healed them, and made them feel valued. His actions – like being kind, forgiving and even performing miracles – show how much He cared about people’s wellbeing.

"Rather than blaming someone for being sick or thinking they lack faith, Christians are encouraged to understand that mental health issues are complex."

Christianity teaches that every person is important and deserves respect, no matter what they’re dealing with mentally. It’s about treating everyone with dignity, even if they’re struggling with mental health. Rather than blaming someone for being sick or thinking they lack faith, Christians are encouraged to understand that mental health issues are complex. They can come from many things, such as biology, thoughts and life experiences. By seeing the whole picture, Christians can offer support and understanding without making people feel bad.

You are not alone

Jesus didn’t just care about physical health; He was also concerned about people’s feelings and thoughts. He didn’t just heal bodies; He comforted troubled minds. In one of His talks (Matthew 5:4 – 14), He said, Those who feel sad are blessed, because they will find comfort.” (paraphrased). This message of comfort and hope is for everyone struggling with mental health issues, showing that they’re not alone.

Jesus also talked about how faith and prayer can help in hard times. For many Christians, praying gives them strength and hope when they’re feeling low. It’s a way to connect with a caring God who knows their pain and offers comfort and peace. Jesus once said, Come to me, all you who are tired and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). This promise isn’t just for people with physical burdens but also for those dealing with mental struggles, offering eternal peace and relief for their soul.

However it’s important to acknowledge that the mental health challenges and pain which we encounter on this earth won’t necessarily go away in this life just because someone is a Christian. It’s also important to acknowledge that those who struggle with mental health issues are not defined by that, no matter how hard things seem. Instead, they’re defined by their relationship with a loving God, even if they continue to struggle with their mental health.

As followers of Jesus, Christians are supposed to act like Him, showing love and care to everyone, including those dealing with mental health problems. This means creating communities where people feel safe to talk about their struggles without fear. It also means pushing for better understanding and support for mental health in society.

What we are doing to help

The charity I work for, Kintsugi Hope, plays a vital role in promoting mental and emotional wellbeing within communities. Named after the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold, Kintsugi Hope embraces the idea that our scars and imperfections can be transformed into sources of beauty and strength. Through a range of programmes, resources, and support networks, Kintsugi Hope offers practical tools and a message of hope for those navigating the challenges of mental health issues.

As a mental health charity, we actively engage in activities during Mental Health Awareness Week. This year, the theme revolves around movement, and we at Kintsugi Hope are excited to be leading the Step Into Hope’ campaign. This initiative offers a platform for individuals to embark on a journey of hope, healing and resilience in their mental health. By taking small steps towards a brighter future, participants promote mental wellbeing through the simple act of walking. The campaign encourages people to prioritise their mental health by integrating walking into their daily routines, emphasising the hopefulness that accompanies this endeavour.

Additionally, it provides an opportunity for those interested in supporting Kintsugi Hope’s crucial work to make match-funded donations. Any contributions made during Mental Health Awareness Week will be matched, doubling the impact of each donation at no extra cost to the donor. Together, these initiatives underscore the transformative power of community, compassion, and solidarity in advancing mental wellbeing for all.

For more information about Kintsugi Hope, go to kintsug​i​hope​.com

For more information on Step Into Hope, go to donate​.kintsug​i​hope​.com/​s​t​e​p​-​i​n​t​o​-hope

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