Our plan for healing and finding wellness with depression flows from our theological reflection. First, all churches--whether they believe that members of the congregation or leadership live with depression or not--should provide education and opportunity for discussion about depression and other forms of mental illness. Second, the person living with depression must feel safe to name the disease and voice lament, and the community must be strong enough to hear this lament. Finally, the individual and her/his family must find webs of support in professional care and in the community.
- Provide education that is theological, sociological, and psychological in nature
- Explore holistic understandings of the issues surrounding depression and healing
- Educate all members of the community: Pastor, congregation, individuals suffering from depression, and loved ones of those who suffer
- Breaking the silence is an act of prayer, voiced to God, to one's self, and to one's community
- The Pastor (or individual suffering with depression) voices the lament
- The lament is heard by God, by one's self, and by the community
- With the depression named, all those involved can make their way back to reality, to honest perceptions of the problem at hand
, and to realistic expectations of each other and the healing ahead
- In dialogue with a health care professional, the individual should seek treatment and assessment, including discerning a healthy level of involvement and determining the need for a leave of absence or hospitalization.
- Form a Pastor Support Group
within the congregation to "cheer the Pastor on" and assist with ministry
- Pastor should find an area-clergy or ecumenical support group for appropriate, non-congregational disclosure and support
- Continue to build "webs of support" for the Pastor and family
For resources and links, please view our resource page and our bibliography.