Curated by Allie Kochert

Blog Articles

About Mental Illness

As the body of Christ, when one is affected, we are all affected. Mental health is a significant part of our everyday lives, our communities, our churches. Awareness of how mental illness affects us and our loved ones or those to whom we minister can help us facilitate empathic and effective responses to protect and preserve wellness—mind, body and spirit. Here are several resources that are places to start.

Mental health resource guide for faith leaders:

Free & low fee essential therapy for essential workers

Clergy in the front lines of opioid epidemic:

Curated list of mental health conditions outlined by the American Psychiatric Association, helpful for those needing information about issues and disorders:

Some myths and facts about mental illness:

National hotline—how to help yourself of someone you know who is struggling:

What is depression and how can I help?

What is anxiety and how can I help?

What is PTSD and how can I help?

Great resource that includes curated book lists on all types of topics to help increase awareness, reduce stigma and grow empathy:

What is suicide? Some myths:

Suicide prevention is a social justice issue:

Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 or txt HOME to 741741

Mental health can be significantly impacted by religious experiences. Some introductory studies are reviewed here:

On the Loving End of Crazy: Finding Hope and Help to Face A Loved One’s Crippling Anxiety and Depression by Faith Tibbetts McDonald

There is a wealth of information out there on the benefits of religion on mental health:

Studies show that spiritual interventions such as spiritual counseling and pastoral support can improve mental health:

Mental health and stigma (UK):

Stigma and mental health discrimination:

What churches get wrong about mental illness:

The Role of Spirituality and Mental Health in the UK:

Burnout Prevention and Resiliency:

Burnout and compassion fatigue affects lots of people in the helping and healing professions, and clergy and others in ministerial positions can be at risk. Being aware of the symptoms of burnout as well as prevention strategies and resiliency training can be important steps to maintaining emotional health in an otherwise often challenging call.

Pastors Empowerment Project to prevent clergy burnout:

Study on preserving mental health of hospital chaplains!po=1.25000

Predictors for chaplaincy burnout:

Burnout and Social Justice Advocacy:

Review of literature on clergy burnout and resiliency:

Families of clergy persons experience specific and special stressors, but help is out there:

Mental Health Ministries

Churches and faith communities can be ground zero when it comes to mental health and wellness issues in their communities. There is lots of great work being done out there in mental health ministries around the country, and communities of faith have a unique position to improve awareness, educate and reduce stigma around mental illness.

Interfaith network for mental illness; includes those faith communities who have a mental health ministry:

Excellent resource for clergy and faith institutions for updated research and focus on mental health and spirituality:

Mental health ministry in faith communities:

Faith communities matter in improving mental health outcomes:

Community Conversation discussion guide about mental health—great for discussion groups!

Stigma remaining a barrier to proper and consistent care:

Stigma-reducing partnerships with faith communities are critical to help those who suffer from mental illness, their families, and their communities:

Ways to fight mental illness stigma:

UCC and WISE congregations for mental health

How faith and spirituality can benefit mental health:

Dangers of Conversion Therapy, which remains legal in the majority of US states

Supporting family and friends who have mental health struggles:

Mental Wellness, Spiritual Practices and Faith

“The Dark Night is nothing but the ongoing relationship with the Divine.” –Gerald May, MD, The Dark Night of the Soul

When viewed as an adjunct to traditional therapy or used as a maintenance support for prevention efforts, the embodiment practices, peer support and connection that spiritual practices provide can be excellent sources of healing and support.

Centering prayer and depression:

Mindfulness and contemplative practices improving mental wellness:

List of research on spiritually, mental health and the intersection of the two:

Importance of including spirituality and faith as part of the health of the whole person:

Faith as a predictor for gratitude and its subsequent improvements in wellbeing

Spiritual direction as an adjunct to mental health treatment for “soul wholeness”:

Centering Prayer and Stress Reduction:

Emma Higgs’ blog on Christian Church and Mental Illness:

Mindfulness is an excellent way to start integrating a cosmic or spiritual lens to emotional wellness strategies. A good book to start on this path is Art of Noticing:

Compassion is a human drive and supports our mental and emotional wellness:

Rachel Keefe studies suicide prevention and has an excellent interview here on how churches can be at the front lines of this important topic: 

Check out Keefe’s book, Lifesaving Church:

How BIPOC can cope with anxiety and racism

Community Healing Spaces – Here are virtual workshops focused on offering healing space for BIPOC and focusing in intersectionality between social justice work and the arts, mental health and spiritual wholeness.