Depression and Mental Illness in the Church: Let’s Talk

Depression and Mental Illness in the Church: Let’s Talk

Today is Bell “Let’s Talk” day in Canada, a day set aside to talk about depression and other mental illness. So, my husband and I took the chance to do exactly that – have a chat. This is our first time to record anything, so grace is appreciated. We have a lot to learn…..


If you would like to read more of my story then stick around. I have written many times in this space about living with depression and panic disorder.

“Let’s talk” is about just that – actual talking about these issues in order to remove the stigma that comes with them. So, comment! This is a community, and what makes it feel like that is the interaction we have with each other.


11 thoughts on “Depression and Mental Illness in the Church: Let’s Talk”

  • Thanks for sharing. I battled depression all through my teenage years and through my 20’s. I too thought I needed to just get over it. I now understand my depression from that time was actually spiritual in nature. I did not understand Lordship and possibly wasn’t a genuine believer in the first place. I felt the heavy hand of condemnation that I now know was of Satan and not God. Once I truly surrendered my life to Christ and learned about true forgiveness and grace and learned spiritual warfare I definitely saw victory over depression. Fast forward to my late 30″s early 40’s I began to have panic attacks and anxiety that didn’t seem to have a cause. I suffered in silence for several weeks until the heart palpitations I was having were too much to bear alone. I confided one night in my husband during a terrible episode what I was experiencing. He began to research for me and discovered that maybe it was hormone driven because of my age. He and I went to get medical advice and I started hormone therapy. It took a couple of years actually before I felt some normalcy coming back into my life but it did. It has now been 8 years and I feel so much better. I do still occasionally have a relapse but I have the knowledge to know how to treat it now. Through all of this I drew so much closer to my Heavenly Father and learned how to completely trust Him for my needs. The verses that got me through my darkest hours were Phillipians 4:6-7, Proverbs 3:5-6 and Psalm 73:26. I am thankful for the experience because I can now help others (and have) through it too! Praise God from whom all good things come!!

  • What a fabulous,honest,open talk on mental illness. Thank you Amy & John. George and I can fully relate to your descriptions of depression and how help is available. , because George has experienced depression. We are so pleased that you urged folks dealing with any form of mental illness to get medical help. It’s such a shame that there has been a stigma attached to
    depression , but those days are or should be over as people like you and others who are dealing with it speak out with such honesty. God bless you both. Love you to bits!
    We like the picture too!

  • Way to go John & Amy! Your boldness speaks volume! The disease of Alzheimer’s has the same stigma’s, as mental illness! Thank God we are free to bring things out into the open! and walk along side people who just need love and listening ear! Isn’t so freeing when we recognize the problem, instead of wondering what athe problem is. Great job!

  • I am a 27 year old female living in Winnipeg and have a history of depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. I’m not a counsellor, but have enough formal and informal education, personal experience, and hours as a client in therapy to be a listening ear to those who struggle. Feel free to email me at if you just need someone to talk to or share your struggles with. Again, I’m no replacement for a counsellor or therapist, but I can listen to your story and share parts of what I’ve lived, learned, read, and gone through to maybe shed a ray of light on your own journey.

    You are not alone.

    Take care,

  • I pray that conversation helps you two on your journey, and possible others. And I know I am a fixer, so I am sorry if I judged you wrongly, or said anything hurtful. Your posts have helped educate me. Love and miss you guys

  • Thank you, John and Amy. OCD sufferer here. Every night, between 10:00 and 11:00 PM is usually when the panic starts for me as this is the time I do my door and window and basement and closet and stove and carbon monoxide detector and under the bed checks making sure the number of times I check things isn’t divisible by 3. That’s my brain for ya. And, this is when I usually ‘shout-ask’ God why he doesn’t help me even though I know full well that it’s only by his grace that I’m still here. Your podcast won’t cure my OCD, but listening to it has given me a sense of peace, temporary as it is. I will do my checks now and again tomorrow and the days after, inexplicably putting my faith in numbers. This is my weakness and I am boasting about it.

  • John & Amy thank you for sharing your words of wisdom and insight with this circle. Also for the email to the church, we needed to receive this because. As you experience 1st hand the grace of accepting this “thorn” and knowing that by the help that you have found, that you are not alone. You have each other, ideas for healthy living, support from people to pill, and Jesus. His love is never failing, never changing, never giving-up, always snd forever. I look forward, Amy to seeing you at church and indeed I see that you have the eyes of compassion. Its eyes of genuine concern & care that comes from deep understanding. You are real, an ‘intrinsic’ women (stupid spell check wants to change that word to instrusive but you’re not that!). You’ve helped me feel “normal” sometimes on those crazy warefare-like Sunday mornings. I specifically remember that one time it was at the back door GK sign in computers and then another time at the front door 2nd coat racks. John & Amy you are touching lives here, there and everywhere!. Please stay for a very very very long time.

  • This usually happens…I find a better word and LOVE it. Let’s try that sentence again, “You are real, an ‘authentic’ women!”
    I like authentic more than intrinsic, so now you get them both.
    PS – you’re still definitely not intrusive

  • Amy, I first want to say that this disclosure of your struggle with mental illness does not diminish my delight, my enjoyment, my appreciation, or my respect for you. In fact, I truly feel more connected with you. There is something about God’s nature that we get enjoyment when we copy it—caring for others, especially in areas where they are weak. I think everyone who is Spirit filled, who cares about following the teachings of Jesus, will feel the same.
    Mental illness seems complex. It’s like when I have a cold. Do I really have a cold when I have the occasional sneeze or stuffy nose? When is it a cold? How symptomatic does it have to get before I feel the need to go to a doctor and get medication? Usually I have to have one foot in the grave—and then the treatment is drastic and prolonged.
    I wonder if my model of mental illness is too much “all or nothing”. I deny the problem until I feel the need for professional help. Perhaps if I saw the issue as all of us—me—being on the continuum of mental health there are things I can do to address good health—things like regular (daily) spiritual communion with God, physical exercise, healthy social interaction, breadth and variety of life experiences, etc. perhaps if this whole issue were included in normal conversation I could recognize the need to take small steps when the problems are small, or recognize when to get help when self-diagnosis isn’t meeting the need.
    Thanks for helping me change my mental model as I view myself, and as I view others.

  • Thanks for sharing, John and Amy. I love you guys and thank God that He brought you to Grant and into my life! I listened to your conversation with a tear running down my cheek as I remembered my road to medical help with my OCD and as I think of the others that desperately need to hear your message of reaching out to God and others. God was clearly in my journey directing me and others as to where to get the proper help I needed. Praise God for His work in our lives and in our ability to empathize and help others because of it. God’s strength is so evident in my weakness, and I thank Him for the way He has worked in me despite and because of my struggles. Let me know if there is any way that I can help the church address the issue of helping people with mental illness. I’d be glad to be a resource to others, also.

  • Thank you for sharing your story and being willing to be vulnerable. We love you both so much and pray for you daily. Most of us look at the two of you and think, “wow there is a couple who is picture perfect and have it all together” but in reality none of us do. We all have an area of life that no one else can see and yet we face this issue, whatever it is, on a daily basis. How blessed to have those who can help us. They are all gifts from God.

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