Is depression a taboo subject within the Church?
Do you feel that the Church needs to bring depression out of the shadows and deal with it, rather than covering it up?
Why is the Church so reluctant to talk about mental illness?
I don't know what church you're referring to or the circumstances under which talking about depression would take place. How do we know it is not taboo as things already are the way they are in many churches? What is not said in the pulpit on Sunday may well be said in less public situations.
Other than that, however, while I certainly don't think the subject of depression should be taboo anywhere; I really think our whole culture could do with a little less talking about mental illness and a little more learning, exactly, the difference between being all "happy-pappy" and at peace with the world and all that's in it all the time; and the very normal state of not being "all happy-pappy-all-the-time".
So, in general, I think if someone thinks s/he may be depressed s/he should go seek professional help (and if that person starts looking for help first with clergy then I'd hope the clergy-person recommended the same thing. Other than that, there is, I think, a vast, vast, and widespread degree of overzealous ignorance about, and enthusiasm over, the subject of mental illness; because a) many people aren't "happy-pappy" all the time, and b) "cheap" and "lightened up" information about mental illness is so pervasive in our culture it is posing serious danger to people in a number of different ways (whether that's the perfectly normal person who isn't entirely happy at the moment, or whether it's strangers, friends, family members who keep an eye out on who/what they - in all their "infinite lack of wisdom and information" - think might be one or another type of mental illness in someone else.
Personally, I have no problem with any church that sticks to matters of faith/belief and leaves the mental-health/health stuff to the mental-health/health professionals. Of course, I'm a big one for believing that all things in/aspects of life should be neatly separated into their own "category"/"department", with clean/clear lines preventing "everything and everyone" from turning into one, big, blob, of a mixed up and unsorted mess with everyone/everything putting in their two-cents and/or spin on it all.
I suppose the appearance of "taboo" could exist if "the church" (whoever/whatever that is) is particularly cautious about calling all unhappiness, "depression" and seeing it as a mental illness. Then again, I think of a very religious/devout woman (not clergy) at my father's wake and how she had the nerve to tell me I should be "joyous" and not sad (????? !!!)
1st of all, depression is an individual’s state of momentary dissatisfaction with life. In a funeral/wake situation a person may not be depressed because of being in the state of mourning. Depression and mourning are two separate states of being in. Depression does not need to be addressed in any church. It is a mental state that needs to be addressed professionally and individually. However, a person can be depressed but after going to church and hearing a positive word of realizing how blessed one is, can feel relieved of feeling depressed about anything. That’s how immediately depression can go away and never return or can return at a later time.
I don't think that depression is a taboo subject within the church; by now we all should understand that there is no reason to attach stigma to it.
However, for the most part many congregations are ill-equipped to deal with anything other than growing the membership. They may ignore mental conditions because the leadership has no training in mental issues; consequently they don't know how to prepare membership to minister to those needing help.
There are several churches which offer counsel and support for depression and other similar conditions. Those who attend churches where there is no help can still find help from churches which offer the service.
It isn't taboo, but it is prone to result in a "let's find peace and joy through Jesus" discussion that rarely helps.
Here are just some general facts, not fully cited because not fully accurate but it is a starting point. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC); death by suicide in the US every 12.3 minutes. (CDC); Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year.
Over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.
Depression therefor is a deadly and sometimes actually fatal disease. It is real and classified in the DSM series.
Depression is not a "I don't feel like ...." It is physical and mental and a mood disorder. There are nearly 50 types of depression running from Bipolar to Postpartum.
We see here where there are many many different views/beliefs on religious church matters. Good for us. Medicine does not give that much wiggle room. It relies on firm scientific type principals that come into being through consensus of highly trained experts. It is man made and therefor can normally be controlled and manipulated by man. Church has no such base. The feeling and spirituality of church does not lend itself to heart surgery or treating depression.
However with that said, The best palliative care for the depressive is getting out and about, socializing, someone who understands and is compassionate to talk to and exercise. So just the acts of attending church is really helpful to those suffering depression.
The other day in a church, included on a prayer list was the name of someone suffering from depression. I do not know that it is taboo. It seems like as with any illness it is generally handled by prayer among the churches. I suspect it is the sufferer that does not want it brought up as the isolation symptom of depression does lend itself to volunteering such information to a large group.
Sometimes the blind leads the blind. There is a lack of awareness, and you will find this near your doorstep; on the buses; trains....
Sick people can be persona non grata for the unillumined, the busy, those with hardened hearts. We actually meet the depressed and their nemesis once a week at least. Perhaps we just don't notice.
In this current 21st, fast-paced century, there are so many ailments going on! We need support, empathy, but I cannot give you, what I myself do not have. See the problem? Mental illnesses are taboo in general, but I would say that we have in fact come a long way in 30 years, and that there is some cause for hope. Much Love, Gina.
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