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'Truth Sets Us Free': Author and Ordained Minister Talks About Erasing Mental Health Stigmas in the Church

Image source: CBN News
Image source: CBN News

It is widely known that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a disastrous toll on our nation's mental health.

Depression, anxiety, and suicide are just some of the conditions that have skyrocketed in the last couple of years and the church is no exception.  

Dr. Thema Bryant appeared on CBN's "Healthy Living" program to talk further about the mental health problems in the church.  

Bryant, who is an ordained minister and the president-elect of the American Psychological Association, explained that it's important to erase the false idea that "good" Christians don't have problems.

She is the author of Homecoming: Overcome Fear and Trauma to Reclaim Your Whole, Authentic Self, which examines how people can start to heal from traumatic experiences.

"I think it goes along with that prosperity gospel that if you love God you'll be wealthy, if you love God you'll be happy every day and it is just not true and is not reflective of what we know from the Bible. And so we see despair among the prophets, we see despair and anxiety and insecurity within 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 sacredness of our lives but our humanity. So as Christians we don't want to operate in denial, we know that truth sets us free, and so we want to be honest about our moments of grief, frustration, depression, fatigue, all of that is a part of our journey." 

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

"The things that we cannot name, we can never overcome. If we don't acknowledge the mountain, how in the world are we going to deal with the mountain? And so our denial does not save us, it just allows it to grow," she said. "We can think about 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 the case in terms of mental health."

To watch the full interview with Dr. Bryant, click here.

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