God Helps Us with Our Mental Health

Carrie Lowrance

Crosswalk Contributor
Published May 10, 2024
God Helps Us with Our Mental Health

Mental health is a hot topic in our culture and a topic that is close to my heart. I have several friends who suffer from various mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. It seems like everyone judges, but what does the Bible say?

What Is a Mental Disorder?

The World Health Organization (June 2022) defines a mental disorder as "a clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotional regulation, or behavior characterizes a mental disorder. It is usually associated with distress or impairment in important areas of functioning."

Common mental disorders include anxiety disorders like panic disorder, OCD, phobias, depressive disorders, and mood disorders. Some specifics include major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and bipolar disorder. Other mental disorders include substance-related disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, personality disorders, PTSD, and psychotic disorders.

What Does the Bible Say About Mental Illness? 

Outside Deuteronomy 28:28, which says, “The Lord will strike you with madness, blindness, and panic,” the Bible does not specifically mention mental illness. 

Even though the Bible specifically mentions mental illness only once, there are other verses that discuss the state of our minds. We all have days where our mental state could be better because of different circumstances. These verses remind us that God is always here to help with our mental state:

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.” Galatians 5:22-23

I have loved this passage since I was a kid. It reminds me of how we need to be careful about what we fill our minds with. If we are filling our minds with garbage, that is going to come out. In filling our minds with godly things like Scripture, Christian entertainment, and sermons from our favorite leaders, the fruit of the Spirit will come out.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). This verse reminds me that we are to not fear what is going on in our lives but to remember that God’s power is within us; therefore, we can do anything. 

“Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand" (Philippians 4:6-7). This verse always comes to my mind when I get anxious about things, reminding me not to worry but to go to the Lord with everything that is bothering me. When I do, I find it lifts a huge mental weight.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). This verse always reminds me that whatever is going on in my life and plaguing my mind, God is always with me.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). When we have a lot of worries and concerns in our minds, it’s easy to think we have to handle everything on our own, but we don’t. God loves us and wants to hear it all, from the big to the small. He cares about all of it. 

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13) is another glorious reminder that with God, we can do anything. 

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and who are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). When worries are piling up and it seems like nothing is going to work, I always remind myself that God is in the background working on something, and he will always come through.  

“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles” (Psalms 34:17). Does this verse mean that God will wave a magic wand and all our troubles will go away? Nope, he said we would have trouble in this world, which can mean physical, mental, and emotional turmoil. However, when we need help, we are to call on him and he will help us.

“This is my command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). This verse reminds me to not fear the road ahead but to be bold and courageous and always remember that God is with me. I think we all need this reminder from time to time because it’s so easy to get caught up in the tangled web of life.

People Who Had Mental Health Issues in the Bible

There are several characters in the Bible who suffered from mental anguish:

Joseph led a life of luxury until his brothers sold him into slavery. His depression started after he begged for them to spare his life, but his siblings didn’t listen. Joseph continued to worship God all throughout his years as a slave, and God honored that.

Job had everything taken from him—his family, possessions, and his health. His friends even blamed him for all his troubles. Despite his depression, Job remained faithful to the Lord, and he gained even more than he had lost.

Esther was told that her entire race faced extinction. I can only imagine the mental anxiety and anguish she went through. However, instead of worrying herself to death, she prayed to the Lord and fasted. She then heard from the Lord and waited three days to take action, saving her people.

In 2 Corinthians 12:8, Paul says he is plagued by a "thorn in the flesh." Many scholars and biblical studies say it is quite possible that Paul's thorn was a mental health issue. 

How Can Christians Pray for Their Mental Health?

Prayer can be a source of great comfort for Christians who suffer from mental health issues. This doesn't mean prayer "fixes" all mental health problems. God offers doctors, medications, and other treatments as additional forms of healing and comfort. However, it's raw, vulnerable, and a beautiful act of faith to bring your mental health concerns to God. 

Here are some prayers to help you pray through your mental health issues:

Dear Lord, I come to you asking for your help with my mental health. I know I cannot do anything by myself, so I’m asking you to help me with the battles in my mind. I know you are always with me and that I can conquer these obstacles with your grace. Even though my mental health is in an awful place right now, I know it is not forever. I know that this will pass and I ask that you help me as I battle my issues. Amen.

Dear Lord, please help me with my mental health. I have so many things that are going on, and I feel like I’m drowning. Please give me your peace, comfort, and wisdom as I go to battle with my mind. I believe you can heal my mental health, whether in this life or the next, and I ask that you will strengthen me as I strive to build myself back up and move on to the fulfilling life you have planned for me. Amen.

How to Pray for Others with Mental Health Issues

When I go to the Lord in prayer for my friends who have mental illnesses, I always pray specifically and boldly. I mention their illness specifically, pray over any inequities and over negative influences in their lives, and demand that the enemy take his hands off their lives and go back to the pit of hell in Jesus’ name. 

Additionally, there are many ways that you can help support your friends and family members who suffer from mental health issues:

1. Ask what you can do- The first thing I ask my friends when they are having a hard time is: "What is the best way I can support you right now?" Unfortunately, I’m far away from all of them, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t help. A phone call, a text, researching some information, etc. are all ways that I can offer encouragement.

2. Text them- It's hard to know what to say when a friend is having a hard time with their mental health. When you don’t know what to say, try one of these messages: "The best you can do is good enough" or "I’m here or I support you." As I’ve always told my friends who struggle with mental issues, “You have worth, you have value, you’re important, and you are loved more than you could ever comprehend.”

3. Pray for them- Going to the Lord is the best way to support them. 

4. Pray with them- If your friend is a believer, offer to call them and pray with them. After all, when two or more are gathered in his name, the Lord is there too.

Mental health is a serious issue no matter what the disorder is. It’s best for all of us to learn as much as we can about it so we can support our friends and family with educated, heartfelt love.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Manikandan-Annamalai