Depression, anxiety, and psychological distress affect women to a greater extent than men. This is true across the boundaries of nations, cultures, and class. For many of us, mental illness and difficulties with mental health have been connected with shame and secrecy.
We sometimes assume that if Jesus is part of our life, we will be protected from “whatever it is that is wrong with other people.” And if we suffer, we do it quietly, perhaps because we think it reflects negatively upon our personal faith if we are depressed or anxious. We may not be sure whose fault it is, but we suspect that it is ours.
Because mutual support makes the biggest difference in maintaining mental health, it is important that we talk to one another. When we feel terrible, let us not hesitate to seek out one another, or professional help. None of us has to suffer in silence.
This message is excerpted from the essay “Emotional and Mental Health” by Mary Stein-Webber in the 2013 Women of the ELCA resource “Our Journey to Wellness.”
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