There is still a stigma attached to mental illness and to depression in particular. Ignorance and misunderstanding have filled the public mind with many prejudices and falsehoods. As a result, many still view disorders such as depression as a choice or as a sign of weakness or as an excuse to opt out of life.

Depressed people may also share these mistaken beliefs, which increases their sense of guilt and failure. Consequently, they will often be reluctant to admit what they are feeling, resulting in their going for many long months, or even years, without asking for help or seeking treatment.

The church can also help by making clear that Christians do not have to be problem free and by demonstrating that when people do experience problems, they will not be ignored or avoided.

Also, the preacher should present a balanced view of the Christian life, as represented in the Psalms, over a third of which deal with fear, anxiety, and despair. This is part and parcel of normal Christian experience in an abnormal world.

We should remind ourselves again and again: “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7).

Edited extract from Christians get depressed too. Available at RHB and Ligonier. Kindle version here.