Mental Health Stigma

Bringing Your Mess To Church Is A Good Thing

Helping People Talk About Mental Health

There are lots of reasons people don’t like to talk about mental health struggles. 

  • We don’t want to make others uncomfortable
  • We don’t like to be seen as weak
  • We’re afraid of professional repercussions
  • We think we’ll be treated differently
  • If we talk about our problems we’ll have to actually do something about them. 

When it comes to church, some people believe that their personal issues won’t be welcome or that the messiness of life doesn’t belong at church. 

For those who work in church ministry, being open with mental health struggles can be very challenging.  Pastors and other ministry workers can feel a pressure to be examples of some imaginary Christian ideal. Church staff also carry the weight of always needing to “be there” for others, which makes it easy to set their own struggles aside so they can focus on caring for others. 

The Mess Belongs In Church

There are people in every church who are simply consumers.  They show up each week with expectations of what church should look like.  These people often don’t like change and they don’t want to see messiness.  If you are reading this you probably see the value in welcoming the messiness of life.  The “Consumers” need your help to see that when people can bring their mess to church, authentic discussion can happen and it becomes possible to talk about the way God fits in even the ugly parts of life.  One of the important jobs of ministry is to help everyone in the church see that dealing with the mess is an essential part of who the church is.  One of the most important, ugly things to talk about is suicide.

Suicide Isn’t Going Anywhere

  • The number of suicides in the United States is rising dramatically from 36,900 in 2009 to more than 48,000 a decade later.
  • Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Every 40 seconds, someone in the world is dying of suicide. Every 40 seconds. Let that sink in.  Since you started reading this post, at least two people have died by suicide.
  • Every year, over a million people, worldwide, die of suicide.

Before His Death By Suicide, One Pastor Shared His Wisdom For The Church

Fortunately, there are simple solutions for stigma of mental health in the church.

You don’t have to be a trained counselor or therapist to stop stigma in its tracks.

“Here is what we have to realize: You don’t have to do a lot to help a lot,” said Jarrid Wilson on The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast.

Wilson was a pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside, CA who struggled with mental health for many years.  His death by suicide in 2019 shocked the world and brought much-needed attention to the topic of mental health in the church.

“The reality is, if the local church wants to be the hope of the world, then it needs to step into situations that people find themselves hopeless, and one of those things is mental health,” Wilson said. “That doesn’t mean you have to suddenly create 40 books, or a curriculum…you can literally stand on a stage and say, ‘Hey, I know a lot of you are dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts right now, I just want you to know, as leaders of this church, we love you, we care about you, we know that is the battle you are dealing with and we will be here to support you. If you are struggling, don’t be ashamed. Come talk to us.’ That right there, just talking about it, is what will end the stigma and could literally save lives because then someone might be like, ‘Wow, I am not ashamed because I can talk to someone about this because my church has my back.’”

Simply talking about mental health and welcoming those to just come share about it is the first, and biggest, step to ending stigma in your church.

4 Ways To Help Your Church

  1. Start With Your Team – Make sure your church staff knows that it’s okay to bring their mess to work with them.  Build in processes and opportunities for sharing, staff to staff support teams, and bring in or refer staff to trusted mental health professionals when needed.
  2. Lead By Example – If you work in ministry, start by talking about any struggles you have.  If you teach from the platform, be willing to let your church family in and show them that it’s okay to talk about these subjects. Help them see that God can be part of their struggles and their solutions.
  3. Be Prepared to Respond – Make sure your staff members (and lay-leaders) have the information and equipping they need to respond when someone comes to them with real life struggles. Be prepared with referral information to appropriate professionals.  If you are in Minnesota and are looking for a Christian mental health professional in your area, check out our directory here with listing by city.
  4. Offer Training to Your Church – at LifeSupport, we offer churches our Caring For Mental Health curriculum free of charge to help equip the Body of the Church to come alongside others in need of support. Get more info, access, and/or facilitator training here.

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5 Ways Mental Illness Affects Spiritual Growth

If you work in ministry you’ve seen the spiritual growth of individuals stall out from time to time.  Someone can be engaged on a strong growth track when suddenly they lose interest.  More often the spiritual drift is gradual and it can be easy to miss the indicators that someone in your community has become disengaged or lost their thirst to grow.  Most leaders will take the initiative to explore the cause of spiritual drift.  Mental illness can be a major barrier to spiritual growth and can be difficult to spot.  Here are a few of the stumbling blocks created by mental illness.


Mental illness can have a profound effect on someone’s view of themselves. Even people who have a relatively healthy mental condition can have trouble seeing themselves as adored children of God. That perception is much more difficult for those who feel they are defective or unworthy. These are people who actually believe that they are not good enough for God.  They desperately need words of encouragement (from people they know and trust) about God’s view of them.  Share appropriate scripture but bring God’s word to life by adding in examples of times when you have felt inadequate and unworthy of God’s love if you can.

God Perception

Mental illness can feel like a curse from God.  Those who struggle can develop a flawed view of how God is working in their life and world.  They can see God as an angry and vengeful power who is punishing or disciplining them for something (real or imagined) about themselves.  Those in this mindset can focus on the parts of scripture that highlight this part of God’s character.  Share reminders of the ways God has shown understanding, patience, and love for individual people. One good strategy is to help them find a character in the bible with whom they can relate, then illuminate the ways that person was loved by God.


People who are afflicted with a mental illness often feel as if they have lost control of their reality. It can feel like it doesn’t matter what they do, they will never find release or change.  Someone who feels trapped and hopeless may find it hard to understand the benefit of any kind of spiritual practice as they don’t see a way forward.  It’s important for these people to hear authentic, relatable stories of hope and transformation.  Shared experience groups are excellent strategies to help them see God at work in and through them.


Mental illness creates separation.  Many people who are struggling with their mental health (even in small ways) tend to separate themselves from others.  Feelings of inadequacy and assumptions about the way others are judging them, make it easier for the sufferer to simply avoid interactions that they see as uncomfortable.  This avoidance creates a snowball effect.  As the person disengages, their mental illness begins to take up a bigger space in their life so the person detaches even further.  It is important to look for the early signs of isolation and take steps to interrupt the process of detachment. Have your staff and ministry leaders make note of who is missing from services or activities, or who is attending less often.  Invite these people to be involved and connect them with others who will include them in activities, groups, or study.  Be sure that you or your staff is engaging personally with these people.


Mental health struggles and addiction are often partners in suffering.  Sometimes, addiction creates or ignites dormant mental illnesses. Other times addiction grows out of mental illness as the sufferer seeks relief through destructive substances or behaviors.  Addiction can overwhelm a person to the point where each of the previous points (perception of self and God, apathy, and isolation) are all present.  Spiritual growth can also suffer as the addict experiences diminished cognitive abilities and other physical harms.  Believers sometimes cause harm to addicts by addressing the addiction simply as a sin issue.  This over-simplification of a complex problem can drive people away from their community of believers, the church, and God.  A lot of spiritual damage is done in the church by people who see those struggling with addiction as unworthy to be present in church with the rest of the church community.  Ministry leaders would be wise to go out of their way to visibly welcome those who are suffering.  In addition to sharing appropriate bible lessons that reinforce the way God sees and values the addict, ministry leaders and friends can provide prayer and important emotional support. Referral to an addiction profession or program, as well as shared experience groups are excellent ways for church leaders to respond to this mental health need.

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I’m Fine – The Most Common Lie

I’m Fine.

The Most Common Lie We Tell?

Our culture tries to convince us that we can take control of our lives and if we don’t have control, something is going wrong. Unfortunately, many churches have adopted the same kind of mindset from the secular realm that everything should be good, and everyone should be happy.

A licensed psychologist spoke on a recent LifeSupport Podcast to talk about the fallacies that are taught in our culture when it comes to trauma and suffering.

Kim Pareigat

After years of being a licensed psychologist, Kim has come to a profound conclusion: Our culture does not do well with pain.

She has also seen the church struggle with dealing with trauma in families. Kim said she defines trauma as going through something that is intense emotionally where there are feelings of hopelessness and no control.

Many of today’s churches are a reflection of the American culture, which tries to tell us that we are in control of our destiny and in control of our future. Culture says we are supposed to be self-sufficient, and churches are quoting what many believe to be a real Bible verse, “God never gives us more than we can handle.”

Kim says these are huge lies that are distorting the way many people think about themselves, their situation and what they can do about it.  

At its very root, trauma disconnects us physically and mentally, Kim said. She said it is very important for churches to take a step back and learn more about what trauma does to people and the best ways to address it.

4 Keys to compassion

  1. Pay attention to the children – Kids can be traumatized just like adults. Churches will have many volunteers work in youth programs and training on the topic of trauma would be extremely beneficial for everyone involved. Without training, a volunteer or even a staff member, may have expectations of a child that are not realistic to a child in trauma.
  2. Leaders need to be transparent – Pastors need to be vulnerable to a degree to make other people in the church feel safe. There is a compassion deficit in our culture and if the church will show compassion to its members, it starts with the leaders.
  3. Hope leads to healing – Without hope, people are in despair and see no signs of their lives improving. We are renewed by the transformation of our mind, Kim says and once we give people hope, the path to healing can begin. People in the church that have overcome trauma in their lives are living examples of hope.
  4. God is a God of compassion – As elementary as it sounds, the church needs to understand that God is a God of compassion, abounding in love. The body of the church should reflect that compassion and love to other members, no matter how good or bad things are.

Find ways to connect

Kim said she hopes more churches make an effort to connect more with people who are suffering and in trauma. It takes listening and patience, she said. Listening is one of the most important things of all. People suffering need people they can confide in, without having anyone trying to fix them or change them.

Once a person has hope, they have connection, which is the opposite of trauma, which is a disconnection. Kim hopes that more churches become places of true connection and compassion for those who are desperate for it.


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you have about our resources. Please email any comments to [email protected]

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Facing Mental Illness As A Church Leader

Pastoring Through Mental Illness

Facing mental illness as a church leader is scary.  Pastors and church leaders are held to a high standard. But what about those who have a mental illness? Are they capable of doing the work of the Lord?

A LifeSupport Podcast welcomed a man with a captivating story as he shared his struggle with Bi-Polar Disorder while pastoring and the hopelessness he felt. His story shows that there is always hope in Christ and God can use anyone no matter the illness or disease.

Pastor Brad Hoefs

Brad was loving his growing church. He became a senior pastor at just 29 years old and his church was one of the fastest-growing churches in North America and word was spreading all over about it. He was determined and driven by his work, and it was his life.

This led to hypomania as Brad delved deeper and deeper into his work. An attempt to relocate his church brought on a dispute with the city and that led to more and more stress. This is when he started to experience some different kinds of behavior associated with mania. But he believed he could handle things and didn’t want to tell anyone about it.

Then out of nowhere, something went wrong. Terribly wrong.

Brad had a manic episode in public, he was ticketed for it, and it was all over the news. He was forced to resign from his position. A group of people came to him and told him that they believed this was mental illness and not sin. This same group ended up starting their own church and asked Brad to pastor it.

Brad took a lot of time off to get better and went back to pastoring. However, everyday was still a struggle. After seven years of pastoring at the church, he went back off the rails mentally when he mixed his medication. Another manic episode landed him in the hospital, and he was in the news again.

In an attempt to learn more about Bi-Polar Disorder, Brad attended some small groups. Unfortunately, though, each time he left these groups, he felt more hopeless as they did nothing to help, but talk about how bad and difficult the disorder was. Brad was desperate for something that was hopeful, and faith based.

Without any luck, Brad decided to start his own group and over the years that group grew into several groups all over the world.

Mental Illness is a ‘Brain Problem,’ Not a Sin Problem

In the LifeSupport Podcast, Brad explained the depths of mental illness in hopes that others would have a better understanding of what it is.

  1. Mental illness is a result of a broken world – Like any other disease or illness, mental illness is the result of a broken and sinful world. This does not mean the person with the disease is more sinful than a healthier person. Brad said this fact gave him solace and more hope in knowing that.
  2. Mental illnesses are ‘unseen’ – Unlike other illnesses that have physical ailments, mental illnesses are ‘unseen,’ meaning you can look at someone and have no idea. The symptoms from Bi-Polar disease are the behaviors or thoughts that come from having a ‘bad brain.’
  3. Compassion is required for mental illness – Brad said he believes the church needs to understand the functions of the brain to really understand mental illnesses and people suffering from them. He says the same level of compassion needs to be brought to these people, just like people with other kinds of illnesses.
  4. There is hope for people with mental illnesses – Brad mentioned that anyone with a mental illness can live well if they receive the proper treatment and receive the proper care.
  5. Love is needed – As simple as it sounds, loving someone with a mental illness can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. Many people with mental illnesses have trouble loving themselves and despite the challenges, someone coming into their life and loving them for who they are can bring the hope that person needs.

Fresh Hope is There for Those With Mental Illnesses

After starting his own mental health group, it took off. Now Brad is the founder of a ministry called Fresh Hope For Mental Health a safe place for people to process their pain and guide and support them along with their loved ones.

God is now using Brad in ways he never imagined. He is now able to help many people who have the same struggles he once did. Brad wrote a book called ‘Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis. He is also a State-certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist, and he was appointed by the Governor of Nebraska to serve on the State Advisory Committee on Mental Health Services.


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

Please email any comments to [email protected]

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Helping Satan Fail

Helping Satan Fail In A Season Of Addiction

This time of year many of us celebrate the birth and life of Christ, seeing his time on earth as a gift to us from a loving father.  There are others in our world who experience this season as one of dark loneliness.  Those who are stuck in the clutches of addiction can’t imagine being in the embrace of God. Believers can see Christ’s life and death as our way forward in a lost world.  As believers, we have a wonderful opportunity to hold out the hope of that redemption to the addicted who believe that they are beyond hope.  Every one of us knows someone who is struggling with addiction, or who has a family member who is addicted. This is a season when believers can put God’s plan into motion for those who need a spark of hope to move forward.

Jim Moore was our guest on a recent LifeSupport podcast and told the amazing story of how his life was redeemed after falling into a deep well of darkness, full of addiction and depression.

Jim Moore

Jim felt like a big shot. He had a great career in management and was a national spokesman. He was taking care of his family and things seemed to be going very well. But out of nowhere, a dark depression came over him and his job and people in his life started to slip away.

Jim’s teenage son fell into the world of drugs and went missing. Jim thought his son was dead and he became full of guilt and to cope, Jim started to self-medicate. He lost his motivation and engagement with people at work became more distant. Eventually, he lost his job. His wife didn’t know what to do as their finances got tighter and tighter.

To make matters even worse during this time, Jim was diagnosed with cancer. He was given only a 40 percent chance to live and the self-medicating with drugs and alcohol became a full-fledged addiction.

At 55 years-old, Jim felt like he had nothing to live for. He wanted to die. He entered Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge with the intention of being there for only 60 days. However, God had other plans and Jim ended up staying there much longer. During his time in Teen Challenge, Jim really met Christ for the first time.  His experience with redemption would lead Jim into the best years of his life.

When Jim graduated from Teen Challenge, he decided to stay as an intern. He would end up working there for the next 10 years.

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Effective ways to help those with addictions

Jim is a testimony of how real love from Christ-like people can help someone change their lives dramatically. During the LifeSupport podcast, Jim shared some insightful ideas of how a church or believers can support someone in addiction:

  1. Stop the stigma – It is easy to label people in our culture nowadays. For churches to reach people struggling with addictions, they need to get rid of the judgement and stigma. Those who are struggling need to be viewed as the son and daughters of God. Stigma creates fear and leads to isolation for those who are in need of a community of help and support.
  2. Get a deeper understanding – Relationships need to be established with anyone that needs help from addiction. Once the person struggling realizes that someone wants to know them in spite of their addiction, then trust and a real relationship can form. Jim says that an addiction is like sinking in quicksand, the only thing that can get you out is a rope. Jesus is the rope that believer can throw.
  3. Don’t expect perfection but hold them accountable – When someone has a chronic addiction, the church should not expect them to never relapse.  Everyone needs one more chance, no matter how many they have had before. However, if someone is truly trying to change, it is important to hold them accountable.
  4. The church should be redemptive and restoring – Instead of keeping an arm’s distance from people who have addictions, criminal history, or mental health issues, the church should welcome these people with open arms.

Let’s make some more of ‘Satan’s Failures’

Jim refers to himself and others from Teen Challenge as ‘Satan’s Failures.’ His story is a story of redemption and transformation. After retiring from Teen Challenge, Jim spends his time volunteering in prison ministry to help others find the hope that was held out to him.

No matter how lost one might seem, no one is beyond the reach of God.


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles, we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential. Please email any comments to [email protected]

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Things We Don’t Talk About In Church Part 2 – Doubt

Doubt Comes With The Territory

At LifeSupport, our craft is telling stories.  We study the stories we collect and we see a lot of consistency in the way people talk and feel about their mental health struggles. One common area that people struggle with is doubt in God. We often hear during our interviews that people feel shame over the doubts they have. 

Doubt is an easy road when we are faced with challenges of life, particularly so when faced with mental health struggles (either our own or those of a loved one).  I have a friend who says he never doubts in God.  I don’t believe him.  I may be wrong, but I believe doubt is a part of our flawed humanity.  Doubt may lie dormant and hidden in some of us, but when life gets difficult, doubt awakens, and without care it can take control. 

The bible is riddled with passages that acknowledge doubt as a condition common to men and women.  In our current world, where newscasters seem to share more negative stories than positive, where connectedness breeds division rather than unity, and where God seems less and less visible in everyday life, is it any wonder that doubt is still a part of our reality? 

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The Dangerous Side-effects Of Doubt

  • Doubt Isolates Us from Other Believers – when someone thinks that their doubt is abnormal they try to hide it. Any time we attempt to conceal part of ourselves (even from those closest to us), we begin to isolate.  The more we isolate, the more we listen to our own voice rather than the voices of those who wish to love and support us.  Listening to a large dose of self-talk when struggling with mental health tends to feed shame and so, more isolation.
  • Doubt Feeds Fear – As a believer, I sometimes have times when my faith is challenged. When I see God as not having ultimate control, I tend to believe that if God isn’t in control, I must be. My response to that loss of connection to my faith is to fear what might happen as a result of me being in control of my life. As a believer, if I start to think that God isn’t really who I thought he was, then almost anything or anyone could influence what happens in my life.  When the surety and eternal truth of God is replaced with doubt, fear is bound to grow.
  • Doubt Changes our Self Image – Sadly, most of us know people who have turned from their faith. Many of those experienced doubt, and told themselves (or were told by others) that they should simply believe in themselves. When we doubt God we tell ourselves that we are capable of doing life on our own.  Our doubt interferes with our ability to see our lives in terms of God’s plan.  The problem is that this seems to work for a time.  Eventually though, life becomes too much for us to bear without the sustenance of God.  As most of us have seen, the resulting collapse is accompanied by pain and destroyed relationships, and sometimes death.

So What Can We Do About It?

Don’t Pretend It Doesn’t Happen

Most of us are hesitant to talk about the parts of life that challenge us.  We tend to make ourselves look like what we think of as “normal”.  The problem with trying to look normal is that we each can have our own definition of what “normal” is. People tend to take their cues from others about what they think they should look and act like.  In the case of believers, someone who is struggling will look to those they perceive as “good Christians” or their church leaders.  People may be suffering silently while trying to mold themselves to look like the people they believe have it all together.  One of the ways we tend to “keep up appearances” as Christians is to hide our doubt. The fact that all of us experience doubt in God from time to time seems like something we should hide.  The fact that we rarely seem to talk about doubt as a normal part of the life of a Christian feeds the stigma that people perceive.

As a church leader, being open about your own doubt has a tremendous effect on people who are looking for cues as to how to deal with their own. You can help counter the stigma of doubt by sharing your own stories of doubt AND the way you responded to that doubt.  Offer specific strategies and biblical examples that helped you fight back doubt.

Start some conversations about doubt in your church

Someone is afraid to ask you about this and they need your help (that may be someone on your staff). Here are a few ideas to get discussions started in your lobby, office or in a group setting:

  • Why do we doubt God?
  • Why doesn’t God eliminate our doubt?
  • What are some examples of doubt in the bible?  How do those help us understand our own doubt?
  • If there are times in your life when you struggled most with doubt, can you identify any reason that you were more prone to doubt in those particular times?
  • What do you do (or what could you do) to defend against doubt?

Things We Don’t Talk About In Church Part 2 – Doubt Read More »

Things We Don’t Talk About In Church Part 1

Things We Don't Talk About In Church Part 1 - Porn

During a recent LifeSupport podcast Pastor Paul Johnson was joined by Amber Fuller of Fuller Living Counseling. Amber shared her personal and professional expertise on the topic of sexual addiction and the church.  Much of the content in this article is a reflection of Amber’s podcast episode.

If We Don't Talk About It...

The list of things we avoid talking about in the church (in most places really) is long.  Porn is at or near the top of the list for most of us.  Most of us avoid talking about porn at all costs.  It turns out those costs are pretty high.  The challenges of porn are a part of our world and sadly a part of our church communities. The church has an opportunity to make a real difference in this widespread struggle. 

The bottom line is that people in your church are hurting as a result of porn.  It may feel impossible to talk about porn from the pulpit, in the lobby, or in our groups, but your church may be the only place that hurting person can find help.  If the church won’t talk about porn, who do we think will?

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More Common Than We Think

According to Amber Fuller, a licensed family and marriage therapist, more than 50% of the people in your church struggle with sexual addiction.   In a study in the Journal of Sex Research, roughly 55 to 70 percent of men and 30 to 40 percent of women under age 40 reported viewing pornography in a given year*

We all like to think that our church is different, that we are somehow “better than that”  The evidence says otherwise.  Every church needs to face the reality that porn is a part of the lives of the people who attend their church and very likely the staff of the church as well.

Why People Turn To Porn

To over-simplify, porn is used by people to feel good.  The deeper question to be answered is, why do they desire to feel better.  Like any addiction, porn is often an attempt to fill a perceived hole in life.  Porn may provide an emotional distraction, stress reduction, or it may simply be used to alleviate boredom.  If a person believes that something is missing from their lives, the church is ideally placed to provide simple, authentic connections, and opportunities to fill those missing needs through community, care groups, teaching, activities, prayer, and bible study.

Why We Hide It

We live in a world that judges others by what we can see from the outside.  Most people under the age of 60 have been conditioned to find approval through what they present to the world on social media.  The result is a reality with very little reality at all.

Each of us holds onto some specific beliefs (often wrong) about our value. Those beliefs and the things we hear from culture, and the church lead us to conclude that if we were to disclose a personal struggle with porn, that our value would decrease.  One of those beliefs is that they are defined by their porn use.  This leads to the biggest fear of all, “If I tell you who I really am, I might not be loved. If I tell you this one thing, I might not be loved.”

People who live with struggles that have been labelled as unacceptable live with a fear of being found out.  That fear tends to make them isolate themselves and resist deep relationships where vulnerability might be expected.

"The fact that we don't talk about these issues causes people to be isolated, which creates an acceleration of behavior that wouldn't necessarily happen if people felt safe talking about their problems."

The Shame Cycle

When we hide away the things that convict us, we feed a cycle of shame that keeps us isolated.  When a person uses porn (or engages in some other shameful activity), they  tend to trigger an inner voice that says “I’ve done a terrible thing”.  The cycle of shame then leads to  “I’m such a terrible person”.  Seeking relief, the person then engages in the activity again starting the cycle all over.  The cycle of shame not only perpetuates (and may accelerate) unwanted behavior, it leads to increased isolation.

The Consequences

The damage caused by the use of porn (or other sex addictions) comes in many forms; damage to marriage and family, trauma suffered by spouses, emotional separation, increased infidelity, separation and divorce, job and financial loss, damaged friendships, and suicide are all possible consequences.  Often the pain is widespread and massive. It’s pretty obvious why people are afraid to confess their struggles with porn.

It’s so human for us to focus on the pain and damage inflicted.  Injured people often ask why God allows such things to happen. A better question might be; I wonder what God will do through this pain?  Consequences sometimes need to happen in order for change to occur.  The pain of exposure is often the key element that allows healing to start, although that healing may take a very long time.

"If you're not disclosing your struggles and if you're not being honest about who you are, if you're walking around performing and acting like you're perfect, you're going to feel really lonely."

The Power Of Vulnerability

 As stated earlier, it’s pretty easy to see why people hide their struggles with porn use.  Many of us believe that talking publicly about any personal problem will make others uncomfortable.  Sharing the things we see as problems can make us feel a loss of power or position.  So why take the risk of sharing your struggles?  Why be vulnerable? 

  • You need help – The simple answer is that if you have a struggle that you can’t change on your own, you are going to need to start being open and honest with someone in order to find help. Some of us have a hard time asking for help in part because it requires us to be vulnerable.
  • Vulnerability brings freedom – There is nothing that will help an addict more than finally sharing the truth about their struggle.  Often, the biggest burden an addict carries is the need to constantly hide.  Once the secrets are disclosed in an appropriate way, the addict will find a new ability to take practical steps forward for recovery.
  • Vulnerability grows connections – Think about the last time someone was vulnerable with you.  How did that make you feel?  When someone trusts us with an important part of who they are, we feel special and our connection with that person grows. 
  • Vulnerability is contagious – When we share with someone else we are communicating that it’s safe for them to do so as well.  If you are a leader who is vulnerable, the people you lead will know that you trust them, and will feel safe bring their struggles into the open rather than hiding them away where they can damage your organization.

"There is a freedom for this struggle, a freedom that can only be found in the Lord. That freedom looks an awful lot like community!"


  • Start talking about it –  We’re not suggesting that you start a counseling service or that you preach about it once a month. But, when and where appropriate, don’t be afraid to “go there”.
  • Be seen as a safe place – People who are caught in a shame cycle need a safe place where they can safely talk (confess) about the things that are convicting them.
  • Prepare the support system – People who are seeking relief from their struggle need Christian community that is equipped and willing to be present as loving, prayerful supporters.
  • Identify your lead helpers – There are people in your church who have navigated these struggles in the past.  Seek them out to help you understand what it felt like to walk through this struggle and enlist them as part of your community of support for others who face similar challenges. 
  • Partner with other churches – There are probably other churches who are dealing with these same issues.  Perhaps there are opportunities for your people (staff and/or congregants) to participate in support groups at a location other than their “home church”.
  • Start formal support groups – There are a number of options to help you start support groups in the area of sexual addiction (see references and resources below).
  • Seek professional guidance – when you don’t know what to do.  The church has created a lot of unintentional pain in the past because those in authority have given inaccurate or incomplete counsel.  Mental health professionals can share much of the load in responding to people in crisis, and can free the church up to concentrate on spiritual care and community support. 
  • Educate yourself and your team – Study what the bible has to say about this topic and how it can inform your activities.  There are excellent resources available to help you learn how to respond to people who need support in the area of sexual addiction (see references and resources below).
  • Prepare for the storm – There is a real possibility that porn will become a problem for one of your church staff members.  We’d all like to think that our people know how to defend against being human but it’s simply not possible.  You and your church board would be well served by having a support plan in place for the day when a staff member brings forward a personal struggle.  It would also be wise to create safe opportunities for staff to share their personal struggles.

References and Resources

  • *Regnerus, Mark, David Gordon, and Joseph Price, “Documenting Pornography Use in America: A Comparative Analysis of Methodological Approaches,” The Journal of Sex Research 53, no. 7 (2016): 873-881.
  • Living In The Shadows LifeSupport Podcast with Amber Fuller
  • Fuller Living and Associates – counseling offices throughout Minnesota and via telehealth.
  • Recovery From Sexual Addiction – an interview by the National Association For Christian Recovery – with Dr. Mark Laaser, author of Faithful & True: Sexual Integrity in a Fallen World
  • The Conquer Series – video-based series for men addressing sexual addiction and purity, containing Biblical teaching and proven principles to help men conquer porn and walk in freedom.  For groups or individual study.
  • Pure Desire Ministries – Support groups.  Freedom from unwanted sexual behavior
  • Faithful and True – Individual counselling, group sessions and workshops.  Located in the Minneapolis area but with an international reach.  The Faithful and True website includes an online resource store where you can find The Pornography Trap  a book written for pastors and Christian leaders by Dr. Mark Laaser and Dr. Ralph Earle. It addresses the problem of pornography addiction, especially on the internet, and other sexual addictions.
  • Per Amber Fuller – “There is a SIGNIFICANTLY strong correlation between Narcissism and men that struggle with porn addiction. A FANTASTIC resource for pastors when it comes to this is Marriage Recovery Center. They actually have a training specifically for pastors on how to help people in this kind of relationship.

Things We Don’t Talk About In Church Part 1 Read More »

Are You Hiding God?

Why It’s Hard For Ministry Leaders To Be Transparent

If you’ve looked at the news lately you’ve seen that the world is talking about mental health.  From sports stars, to musicians, to politicians, People are becoming more and more open about their mental health.  People are also waking up to the dramatic (and often tragic) effects of mental illness on our young people.

So why is there still a stigma around mental illness in the church?  As I was listening to a recent LifeSupport podcast I was prompted to write about the reasons why ministry leaders don’t talk about their own struggles.

Guest: Ryan Alexander

Lead pastor, Hosanna Church, Minnesota

As a child and as a young adult, Ryan struggled with severe anxiety.  Like many young people today, he felt that the world wasn’t safe.  Ryan’s anxiety eventually overwhelmed him and his mental health problems culminated with two suicide attempts at the ages of 18 and 20.

During his appearance on the podcast Ryan shares some of his journey of healing and how God met him in the midst of his struggle.

Later in life Ryan would go on to enter ministry and shortly before taking over as lead pastor of a large church, he used a weekend teaching opportunity to share the story of his struggles with mental health. That opportunity to share gave him a feeling of freedom because he no longer had anything to hide.

Ryan received hundreds of emails thanking him for being so vulnerable.  Hearing this message of transparency made people feel more connected to him, and gave people in the church permission to deal with the problems in their own lives.  Since that message series 5 years ago, Ryan’s church has gone on to become a model of transparency and effective ministry for mental health (and many other areas).

“The story of the bible is a story of trauma in many ways”

Paul and Ryan go on to talk about why pastors don’t often feel permission to talk about their struggles.  Here are a few reasons church leaders don’t talk about their mental health and our responses.

  • Fear
    • God is bigger than your fear.
    • There are people sitting in your pews who are also afraid. They are afraid to talk about their pain because they think that church isn’t a place where people talk about pain.  Those people need you to model vulnerability and Christian community.  Great leaders can look past their own fear to see the needs of others.
  • It’s Not About Me
    • Church leaders believe that the focus should be on God rather than them. We all know that people can put ministry leaders up on pedestals.  It is possible to “put yourself in the story” too many times and make it about you. But, most church leaders live in the shadows rather than the spotlight.  Sharing your personal struggles can be a great opportunity to connect with those you lead, and show how God works in real life situations.
  • I’m Not Qualified
    • Everyone is qualified to talk about themselves and how God is working in their life.
    • Most church leaders have very little training in dealing with mental health issues, and should not try to act as mental health counselors unless they have specific training. However, people who are struggling with their mental health have many needs that can be supported by the church.  Mental illness requires a community of care. The local church should be the first in line to help create that community of care.
    • You can partner with those who are qualified to do the things you can’t. There are Christian counselors and therapists in most areas, or who are available online.  Many of these professionals have systems in place for partnering with local churches and can walk you through the referral process.
  • I am expected to look like a “Complete Christian”
    • There are many churches where there is an expectation that the pastors will somehow not be human. If you are in such a position, you are being asked to do the impossible.  It is unhealthy, and unbiblical for Christians to pretend that normal human problems will not enter into the lives of church leaders.
    • There are probably people sitting in your church who actually believe it’s possible to somehow be a perfect Christian. Because they believe this, they pretend to be something they are not. The people you lead need you to show and tell them that there is no such thing as a complete or perfect Christian, that, the fact that we are not perfect is the whole point of Christ’s sacrifice in the first place. 

When you hide your problems you hide opportunities to show God at work in your life.

We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God.  We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential.  Please email any comments to [email protected]

Looking For Ways to Build Mental Health Ministry?

Check out our article – An Overview of Mental Health Ministry

Are You Hiding God? Read More »

She Thought She Should Kill Herself

She Thought She Should Kill Herself - She Went To Her Pastor Instead

A pastor told us about a girl who was encouraged to kill herself by other teens online. A few rare and fortunate things happened that may have saved her life.

  • She attended a weekly student ministry.
  • She felt safe approaching her pastor for help.
  • Her pastor recognized that he had a role in caring for the mental health of young people.
  • Her pastor had a process in place to refer her out to professional help.

Most young people are not as fortunate.

  • Many young people have abandoned church (or never attended), in part because they don’t see church as relevant to their life or the struggles they face.
  • Many ministry leaders and volunteers have not been equipped to have serious discussions about life with young people.
  • Sadly, many churches still fail to recognize that Christ and the bible provide answers for the everyday struggles that people face (including mental health struggles).
  • Some churches are still resistant to work with mental health professionals to be part of a community of care for their church family.

The devastating truth is that an alarming number of young people are dying by suicide. The church can be part of the answer to this crisis.  With a small donation, you can help us produce resources that help churches fill their role in saving lives?

She Thought She Should Kill Herself Read More »

Pastor in Prayer

Youth Suicide Stigma

Stigma Of Suicide in Youth

We’ve been told by pastors, parents, survivors and therapists that churches need resources to address the stigma of youth suicide.  Here’s what Pastor Kevin shared with us.

“Many young people struggle with thoughts of suicide or self-harm during their teen and young adult years, and because of shame and fear, most of them tell no one. The church needs to be a safe place with effective resources to help start difficult conversations.”

There are a number of resources that train people to see the signs and symptoms of suicidal thinking but there aren’t resources designed for student ministry environments that share real stories to help people respond well and have healthy discussions about suicide with young people.

Please consider helping us create these resources to help start discussions, reduce the stigma, and support churches that influence young people for Christ.

Donate to help us at

Read about Justin, a survivor of youth suicide here –

Youth Suicide Stigma Read More »

Suicide Survivors

A Survivor Of Suicide

Justin - A Survivor of Suicide

Justin is a survivor of suicide.  He grew up in a good Christian family.  He grew up in the church and knew Christ since he was a little child. 

In the first grade. He began experiencing mental health issues and depression. Headaches and stomach pain were a common occurrence. Justin didn’t know if there was something was wrong with him, he just didn’t feel right. 

He first experienced suicidal ideations in the third grade. Death was on his mind constantly.  His mental health issues grew over time. By the time he was in high school, Justin knew he was in trouble.

Justin, like so many young people wanted a way out of the pain of depression. Off and on from the ages of 8-19 suicide was Justin’s companion.  Suicide was a way out and it was a way to make the pain stop.  Other people in Justin’s life thought there was something wrong but didn’t know how to help.

There are young people like Justin sitting in our churches, quietly struggling with thoughts of suicide.  Many of them will not survive.  People see that something is wrong but they don’t know how to help.

Will you help us create a resource so people will know how to help?  Visit our GoFundMe to learn more.

A Survivor Of Suicide Read More »

A pastor wrestling with his thoughts

A Pastor’s Suicide

Table of Contents

Suicide Among Pastors is a Real Possibility in Your World

Suicide among pastors occurs for similar reasons as in any other group of people.  But, suicide among pastors seems different somehow.  In some ways we hold pastors to a different standard.  In our ignorance, we think they shouldn’t react to struggles and mental illness the way the rest of us do. Some pastors hold onto this impossible view of themselves too.  Suicide is a major killer in America and is almost always attached to mental illness. Those with suicidal thoughts usually have little to no hope, experience tremendous pain, and often feel alone.  Pastors and other church leaders are not immune to mental illness or to thoughts of suicide.

Andrew Stoeklein was a young pastor who was on fire for God who experienced significant mental health struggles.  In a recent LifeSupport Podcast, Andrew’s wife Kayla shared the painful story of the events that led up to Andrew’s suicide and what she learned from it.

Ministry leaders can learn some important lessons about mental health and suicide from the insight she received after these traumatic experiences.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Faith Does Not Eliminate Mental Illness

Kayla described her husband as someone who dedicated his life to God. Andrew, was the son of a pastor and when his father passed away, the torch of pastoring the church was passed on to him. Andrew was still growing as a pastor and this was a big role to fill.  People place a lot of expectations on ministry leaders (and themselves).  When it comes to mental health, those expectations are often unrealistic.

“I think the biggest misconception is that when someone has enough faith, they love God, spending enough time in scripture, that they’ll never struggle with their mental illness,” Kayla said.

Take it from a pastor’s wife… “having all the faith in the world cannot keep you safe from mental illnesses.” And yet, in the presence of mental illness, some churches question a person’s faith, addressing the sin in their lives in an attempt to diagnose the issue.

“There is also a misconception that mental illness, like depression and anxiety, is something that can be treated right away,” Kayla said. “And I think those misconceptions are harmful, I think they are hurtful, and I think that they are not accurate.”

Mental Illness is a Physical Illness

Our church culture has differentiated mental illness from other illness and that has created a stigma around it that creates shame and guilt for those battling it.

Kayla made the point that we must view mental illness like other illnesses and health issues.

“It is a real physical illness,” she said. “Andrew had a real chemical imbalance happening in his mind, his mind was really sick. It’s a pain problem. You know, it was this real physical illness, it wasn’t a choice. He never would have chosen this.”

God Never Abandons Those Struggling With Mental Health

Just because you have a mental illness or your loved one has a mental illness, does not mean that God is not present in the situation.

We live in a fallen world, which brings disease and death to all mankind. Mental illnesses are a part of that fallen state, and Christians of all kinds will be impacted by it.

“I would say keep showing up,” Kayla said. “If you feel like God is silent, if you feel like God’s not there, I would say keep allowing yourself the space to sit with him. None of us are exempt from those desert seasons, you know, they come for us all. But I truly believe that God has promised to be there with us, and I think he is there with us whether we feel like he is or not.”

Suicide Among Pastors is a Real Possibility in Your World

  • It’s hard for pastors to feel like they can show any weakness.

  • It’s hard for pastors to feel like they have the space to be human.

Apply This Information

  • Define a safe, non-judgmental process in your organization (with specific people responsible) that allows ministry leaders to safely reach out for help when they are struggling with any mental health issue including suicidal thoughts.
  • Educate all ministry leaders on suicide prevention resources. We recommend LivingWorks prevention training 
  • As a leader, deciding how much to share about yourself can be difficult. Develop advisors or consult team members who can pray, guide, and encourage you through these decisions.
  • When deciding how much to share, ask yourself what positive outcome could come from your transparency for someone who is suffering a similar struggle.
  • Plan an annual mental health message series for your church. Enlist church staff/leaders to contribute their own struggles for illustration purposes.  We have a library of short sermon transition videos with stories of mental health struggles at

Kayla Stoeklein is the author of the book “Fear Gone Wild,” which addresses mental health issues and how to walk alongside someone with mental illness.

A Pastor’s Suicide Read More »

Real or Fake

Leadership Transparency Doesn’t Just Grow Your Church

Table of Contents

Leadership transparency and mental health

Leadership transparency doesn’t just grow your church, it shreds stigma.  Let’s face it, as Christians it can be very difficult to share our struggles with those in church. Leaders, like all of us carry some fear of judgement or shame. However, church leaders carry the burden to walk the walk, which means swallowing hard to set an example for others no matter how much we want to hide.

Those battling mental illness can relate to the fact that there is stigma attached to what they’re facing. Unfortunately, mental health has been an issue that many churches feel inadequate to address, so it either is handled the wrong way or not addressed at all. This makes sharing mental health struggles even more difficult.

In our experience, churches where leaders are transparent and willing to talk about their own struggles set an example that multiplies hope.  When a leader is vulnerable people see (sometimes for the first time) that it’s okay to share and ask for help.  In a transparent church people start to heal.  Along the way these churches also attract people.

For one pastor who shared his struggles, it ultimately helped others find freedom.

Read more on stigma in the church here –

Pastors get hit with life like anyone

Pastor Ben Courson is the founder of Hope Generation and in an article recently published by the Christian Post, he shared his battles with depression and suicidal thoughts. He experienced different kinds of trauma ranging from the death of his sister, the suicide of a friend and the end of a long-time relationship.

He was eventually diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“My counselor said, ‘You have one of the most difficult cases of depression I’ve ever had to treat,’’ Courson recalled in the interview.

He shared staggering numbers from the CDC that found that 30 percent of millennials said they had thought about suicide in the last 30 days.

“So, it’s not just me,” Courson said. “Our whole generation is going through this clinical depression, and nearly half of people report being harmed in their mental health since the coronavirus hit.”

Pastors are not perfect. Yes, we look to them for guidance and understanding, but everyone is struggling with something.

A major misconception

Mental illness is unique among other illnesses because it has stigma attached to it that makes many believe that there is something wrong with them spiritually.

Courson said a common misconception surrounding people who struggle with mental illness is that they are ‘weak.’

In the interview with the Christian Post, he cited Hebrews 2:10 which speaks of Christ being made ‘perfect’ through suffering.


God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.

Leadership transparency attracts people who need hope

To deal with the stigma surrounding mental illnesses in the church, the best way is to simply acknowledge it and  share experiences.

“The very things that seem to create mental illness in us, or feeling ostracized or separation anxiety…out of that fire and tribulation, He (God) comes to create a fire that can actually be an asset,” he said.

A pastor who shares his or her mental health struggles, helps position their church to grow because people will recognize the church as a safe place to find God and God’s helpers.

See the article mentioned in its entirety at

Leadership Transparency Doesn’t Just Grow Your Church Read More »

Love the mess

Loving People With Mental Illness

It's Not Complicated

Loving people with mental illness is different than curing them.  Sometimes we complicate things.  A common trap that many church leaders fall into when seeking to help people is attempting to diagnose mental illnesses.

Diagnosing a mental illness should be left to mental health professionals. The church should simply be in the business of loving someone the way Jesus would love them.  That means creating environments of transparency, where we reduce stigma and where it’s okay to be hurting.

What Do We Label Sin?

In a recent LifeSupport interview, Pastor Paul Marzahn of Crossroads Church in Lakeville, MN addressed this and the ways the church can create a culture that reflects God’s love in a place where people can safely seek help for the problems of life.

Marzahn said it is common for pastors and ministry leaders to put too much emphasis on the sin in a person’s life when mental illness is concerned.

“Often times we say, ‘This, this and this are wrong and if you do these things, you are a terrible person and you are far from God,’” Marzahn said. “If I share it in that manner, then people are going to be very reluctant to come forward and say those are their issues.”

Segregating "problems" Can Reinforce Stigma

Too many times, churches will not openly talk about mental health and when a person brings their struggles to the church, they are referred to a counselor or a group of some kind. However, these people need to understand that they are not different from others in the church and are loved the same.

“If we remind people that we are all sinners and need God’s grace, that we all have problems that pull us from God, then they will see that we are open for them to come forward and help them,” Marzahn said. “But if they feel judged, or a sense of not being welcomed, then there will never be the opportunity to help them.”

A mental illness is just like any other illness that needs a diagnosis from a professional, sometimes needs medication and needs the church community to love them, support them and pray for them.

Need Help Loving People With Mental Illness?

The Library of LifeSupport videos and group curriculum are built to help reduce the stigma of mental illness.  The LifeSupport Podcast shares stories of real people that can help your church support others.  If you or your church needs help connecting with a mental health professional, contact us at [email protected].

Loving People With Mental Illness Read More »

Jason found mental health stigma at his church

Mental Health Stigma Solutions

Table of Contents

Finding Stories of Mental Health Stigma is Easy

Jason found mental health stigma at his church.  The LifeSupport video Fear of Judgement introduces Jason who struggled with his mental health and addiction.  Jason told us, “I was the guy that was putting on this fake front of a man… there was just so much pain inside and there are so many things that happened behind closed doors…you’re embarrassed to share what’s really happening in your life.”  When he opened up to certain people in his church, he knew they were looking down on him.

The stigma of mental health is real, especially in churches.

“You are not praying hard enough,” “You don’t have enough faith, otherwise this wouldn’t be an issue,” “There is sin in your life that is causing this…”

These are just some of the stigma statements that mental health sufferers hear in churches that cause them to shy away from ever going back.

Even people with good intentions can cause massive harm to others. This is why stigma towards mental health is a serious problem. Two out of three Americans struggle with some kind of mental health issue.

So, why should we let stigma prevent churchgoers from coming forward with their struggles?

Shocking Statistics

  • The number of suicides in the United States is rising dramatically from 36,900 in 2009 to more than 48,000 a decade later.
  • Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Every 40 seconds, someone in the world is dying of suicide. Every 40 seconds. Let that sink in.  Since you started reading this post, at least two people have died by suicide.
  • Every year, over a million people, worldwide, die of suicide.

Simple Solutions To Mental Health Stigma

Fortunately, there are simple solutions for stigma of mental health in the church.

You don’t have to be a trained counselor or therapist to stop stigma in its tracks.

“Here is what we have to realize: You don’t have to do a lot to help a lot,” said Jarrid Wilson on The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast.

Wilson was a young church leader who struggled with mental health for many years.  His death by suicide in 2019 shocked the world and brought much-needed attention to the topic of mental health in the church.

“The reality is, if the local church wants to be the hope of the world, then it needs to step into situations that people find themselves hopeless, and one of those things is mental health,” Wilson said. “That doesn’t mean you have to suddenly create 40 books, or a curriculum…you can literally stand on a stage and say, ‘Hey, I know a lot of you are dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts right now, I just want you to know, as leaders of this church, we love you, we care about you, we know that is the battle you are dealing with and we will be here to support you. If you are struggling, don’t be ashamed. Come talk to us.’ That right there, just talking about it, is what will end the stigma and could literally save lives because then someone might be like, ‘Wow, I am not ashamed because I can talk to someone about this because my church has my back.’”

Simply talking about mental health and welcoming those to just come share about it is the first, and biggest, step to ending stigma in your church.

Small Steps That Have Big Impact

Does talking about mental health address what happens next?

No, that will take more work, but the next steps to addressing mental health cannot take place if there is still stigma lurking in the church.

Carey Nieuwhof has dealt with this in his church and found easy ways to always keep the door open for those with mental health.

“Now we have a list of five Christian counselors that are trained and accredited that we trust, that we believe will bring Jesus into the equation,” Nieuwhof said. “We also have some phone numbers of community services that we hand out, again and again, from marriage counseling, right to people who are really struggling.”

The bottom line is, you do not have to become a professional therapist to make a big difference when it comes to mental health. Just being present and listening to those struggling can make the biggest difference in the world.

Mental Health Stigma Solutions Read More »

Standing On Shore

Caring For A Killer

I Think It’s Complicated

A lesson I learned from caring for a killer. 

I write almost every day about mental health and ministry.  It often seems intimidating and complicated to think of ways to support the huge variety of mental health needs that people have.  If you’re in care ministry you sometimes get questions that stop you in your tracks.  Your training tells you to look supportive, to nod your head, to just sit there and take it. But, inside you’re thinking, “I have absolutely no idea what to do for you”.  It’s easy to forget how simple it can be to support even the most complicated issues.

Here’s An Example

This feeling of inadequacy happened to me one day when a young man who was part of my care group opened up with, “I killed my brother two years ago. I hate myself and I don’t know what to do about it.”  I don’t remember my response exactly but I know there was an uncomfortable pause as I considered what I could possibly say to help this guy (and the rest of the group) process and respond to this announcement.  I didn’t even think to share any of the great bible stories that applied to his situation.  I talked about making sure he was safe and helping him find a support professional. I know I thanked him for sharing something so important and sensitive but I’m sure he was expecting more from me.   Fortunately, a couple of group members were very supportive and shared experiences where they had finally opened up about something from their own past.

The Simple Truth I Learned From Caring For a Killer

A few weeks after this incident, this young man approached me after group to tell me that he’d been able to connect with a counselor and that he was working though his family issues (as he called them).  I asked him if it was helping.  He said that the thing that had helped him the most was just being able to share with our group what was on his heart.  He said, “Having someone who would just listen to me made me feel better than I have in two years.”  I thought I needed to have answers for this guy’s problems, that I should be able to give him something that would help him overcome his struggle.  I forgot the simple truth that – people just want to be heard with a loving ear.  The single biggest thing we did to help him was to simply be in relationship with him so he had people he knew he could trust with his pain.

Ministering to mental health is sometimes complicated, but it’s always as easy as listening.

I Could Have Used LifeSupport Resources

Back when our group was meeting there were no resources around like our LifeSupport mental health discussion videos.  There are several in our collection that I could have used to equip our group to help support our young friend.  Hearing the story of shared experience from a impartial, non-threatening source is a great way to help people open up and talk about painful things.  You can explore the video library here.

Caring For A Killer Read More »

Person Hiding Mess

Why Is It So Difficult by LifeSupport

There are some things that are really hard to talk about. When it comes to mental health struggles, many of us feel we have to hide our problems because others won’t understand, or that they’ll treat us differently.  All around us there are people hiding their pain.  This is just as true in our churches as it is in the rest of the world.

Here’s what happens when people don’t hide their messes:

We create mental health discussion videos and mental health group resources from content gathered during interviews of Christians who have found a path through their own struggles. On interview days we sit with one or two people at a time and just get to know them. We start with a prayer, and then we ask a few questions. Mostly, we just listen to their stories of pain. These are days filled with emotion and connection. We hear people (who we’re usually meeting for the first time) share openly about the most difficult and messy parts of their lives; about depression, suicide, grief, infidelity, abuse, and more. Sometimes they cry. Sometimes we cry.

And when it’s done, we all feel good. Without fail, these generous people tell us that they get great value from our interviews. They feel good that the story of their struggle might help someone else find a path through to healing. One of the reasons for our work, is that we want everyone to know that feeling of connection and support you get after someone has listened to you share some really hard things. 

The results:

We know from first-hand experience that strong, biblical relationships form, and healing happens when people take the time to simply be present and listen to someone else share what’s on their heart. We believe that this process of shared struggle and shared healing is part of God’s plan for the messiness of our world. We are grateful to be part of that plan.

We also explore mental health ministry and transformation stories on the weekly LifeSupport Podcast.  Join us on the LifeSupport channel or on the Faith Radio Network.

Why Is It So Difficult by LifeSupport Read More »

A Remodel That Helps Reach The Hurting by Jenita Pace


A Church Plan to Reach The Hurting

There is no doubt that anyone who has experienced a remodel understands the depth of work, determination, and variety of skills it takes to accomplish.

As we see the growing levels of trauma and pain in the people around us in and in our church, it can be difficult to determine how best to meet the needs?  In order to meet the evolving needs of your people, here is a guide on how to begin to evaluate and process how to create a psychologically remodeled space that will draw the hurt and lost to Jesus, the ultimate counselor and healer.

A Remodel That Helps Reach The Hurting by Jenita Pace Read More »