Friday, 01 July 2011Those who are deeply grounded in faith traditions often look to their religious leaders and fellow parishioners for support. It is crucial for these communities to provide it—especially when families are dealing with depressive disorders. A recent Baylor University study surveyed nearly 6,000 Protestant churchgoers in 24 different churches. According to a press release, co-author Dr. Diana Garland reports that, “Families with mental illness stand to benefit from their involvement within a congregation, but our findings suggest that faith communities fail to adequately engage these families because they lack awareness of the issues and understanding of the important ways that they can help.”
Families for Depression Awareness spoke to Reverend Robert Dell, Chair of Pathways to Promise—Ministry and Mental Illness, about how parishioners can help their church community be more aware of depressive disorders.
He suggests that you:
Rev. Dell also encourages clergy members to get educated. The Pathways to Promise website offers several resources on the subjects of reaching out to families, facilitating referrals, and appropriate responses to symptomatic behavior.
Clergy and lay people alike can make a difference in the lives of people coping with these issues.