Oprah. Michael Phelps. Harrison Ford. Lady Gaga. Jim Carrey. Terry Bradshaw. Ellen DeGeneres. Serena Williams. Robin Williams.
Each of these celebrities (and more!) has battled depression and has been willing to share his or her story. Scientists have studied the phenomena that show that as celebrities are willing to talk about their own mental health challenges, other people find the courage to do so too. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, which means that a lot of people are willing to talk right now.
This means Christians have an opportunity right now. As people share their struggles, we are called to serve one another in love. And you get to do what you can.
However, I’m not asking you to do what you can, because that sounds like a small thing. I’m asking you to do what you can, which means knowing how God has called you to serve.
- You might be blessed with a listening ear and are able to let people vent and cry and question.
- Maybe you love meal planning and can help someone get his or her nutrition back on track. (Studies show that certain diets can prevent or reduce depression.)
- Perhaps you’ve been called to be an encourager. Reach out and let people know that you are thinking of them. Meet with them in person to remind them that they are not alone.
- You might love exercise and can become an accountability partner. Not only will you help others keep their hearts healthy, but their minds as well. That’s because exercise can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Maybe you have the gift of prayer and are diligent in praying with and for the people in your life who are hurting.
- You may have the gift of financial planning. Studies show that mental health is tied to financial health, so helping people budget and save can improve their well-being.
One other thing . . . faith doesn’t make you immune from struggles. Even as you look for ways to encourage the people around you, remember that they are called to support you too! Reach out to a trusted friend; seek professional help; talk to your pastor; talk to your doctor. Talk to someone who has been there before and has found ways to get through. In whatever way you may be struggling, accept help.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor. Follow her on Facebook, where she shares devotions, random funny videos, blogs, songs that she currently loves, and more information about mental wellness.