I just wanted to thank you for this insightful and very helpful article. Several years ago I experienced breathing problems (panic attacks) when I thought my mother was dying. I received a great deal of help from my wife who is a therapist and a Christian doctor. I am so thankful for the support I received but fully appreciate that it is very hard for men, in particular, to talk about this kind of vulnerability in church. Now I am very keen to talk about these kind of struggles with anybody who will listen. I am also trying to be more vulnerable in my sermons. Thanks so much for raising these issues.
"Let's make our church ok to be not ok". - This is a lovely sentiment, but it also links with the automatic thought at mental health is a bad thing. When we say physical health, we generally have positive images. 'Mental health', and we think of pain and anguish. Actually having a faith is seen as a resilience factor. Mental health is not a passive commodity. Neither is self esteem. These are things that we need to work on, as with all relationships. We need moments of joy and inspiration. These do happen in churches.
Andrew Starr - (Nondenominational) NHS mental health worker