Our wise, experienced family doctor asked me an unexpected question during a wellness checkup: “You live with two depressed men (my husband and my son, both of whom have been open about their struggle with depression). What are you doing to protect yourself? Depression is contagious.”
I told her, “Well, actually, not long ago I got off a cruise ship with my joy-filled sister where we had five days together with nothing but fun and laughter, and it completely filled my tank.”
“Great!” she nodded. You need to do that more often.”
As soon as I left her office, I called my sister. “You’ll never believe what my doctor just prescribed! Regular cruises with you!” (I should have asked for it on a prescription pad!)
There’s an epidemic of depression, including in the church, but many people don’t feel comfortable talking about it. Even more complicated and difficult aspects of mental illness plague millions of people every day—one out of five families!—but few are willing to talk about it openly. The church needs to be the safest place to ask for help and share the burden.
Next week (October 8-12) is Mental Health Awareness week.
The author of the little gem Sparks of Redemptive Grace (please see my blog post Mental Illness and the Family) has an excellent, deeply insightful prayer guide called “31 Days, 31 Ways 2 Pray 4 Families: A Monthly Prayer Guide to Aid Intercession For Families Dealing with Mental Illnesses.”
We can make a difference for time and eternity in the lives of families carrying the heavy, heavy weight of mental illnesses by releasing God’s power and grace into their lives through intercessory prayer. I commend it to you.