Most churches could do a lot more to support people who live with mental illnesses. Many Christian teachings link health, wealth and faith in ways that can make anyone having a bad day feel like God has abandoned them. This feels all the more injurious to someone living with a mental-health challenge.
This becomes particularly acute in African-American communities. For emotional support, African Americans tend to rely on family and social and religious communities rather than healthcare professionals. In addition, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) notes that African Americans are less likely than their white counterparts to receive accurate diagnoses.
July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. During this season, mental-health advocates shine a spotlight on the way that depression and other mental illnesses are experienced among people of color in the United States. Mental-health professionals are increasingly competent in various cultural experiences and should be consulted.
As black churches explore ways that they can be supportive of people living with mental illnesses, they can draw upon various resources within tradition resources that can be helpful to people living with depression. These historic practices can create a contemporary climate that is welcoming and supportive for faithful people living with depression.
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