If you’re a member of a faith community, you may find that speaking with your clergyperson or becoming more involved with services and activities may be helpful. When I was in major depression, I joined a faith-based group that helped the elderly stay in their homes. The board meetings were filled with prayer, and volunteering to assist the elderly helped me focus on someone other than myself.
Here are some other suggestions:
- Bring up your faith or spirituality to your mental health professional, if it is an important part of who you are. If they pooh-pooh your faith, find another provider.
- Give prayer a try. Some people prefer to pray spontaneously and others like a written prayer they can read. If you feel more comfortable with a set prayer, look for a book or ask your clergyperson for suggestions.
- Find a prayer group. Ask the church you attend if it has a prayer group for people with depression and anxiety or if it knows of one nearby.
- Go online. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has an outreach program for those who want to approach depression from a faith perspective: NAMI’s FaithNet (nami.org/namifaithnet) has articles, resources, and an online discussion group. This site was quite important to me when I needed support from others with deep depression who leaned heavily on their faith.
- Read often from Psalms. You’ll find some great ones that address mental distress and the saving grace of God. Psalm 91 is one of my favorites.