Is Mental Health Real?
1 in 5 children has a diagnosable mental health problem, nearly two-thirds of them get little or no help
Mental health month ended Friday and it was put on my heart to take a few moments and address children and mental health awareness. In the African-American community, depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar, and every other disorders are taboo. We are quick to call people “crazy”, yet don’t say or do anything to help said person. As mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or even cousins to a daughter of the King we have to get past that mindset. Mental health is real! And if we do not recognize and address it, then our children will repeat the same misbeliefs with their children and their children’s children.
I know some of you are thinking the same old thoughts of our ancestors…mental health is nothing but the devil and Jesus can fix it! And yes, Jesus CAN fix it! He can fix it with doctors and He can fix it with medication! Believe me, I am in NO way down playing the power of God and how He is our EVERYTHING. The issue with treating mental illness as only a spiritual problem hurts the person who is struggling with their mental health. If your daughter were to have a broken leg would you not go to the doctor to get a cast put on, so why wouldn’t you go see a doctor if her brain is chemically imbalanced?
Is mental health biblical?
In a short answer, yes, I believe the Bible speaks to our mental health. Paul states that our outward bodies are wasting away (2 Corinthians 4:16). Our body includes our brain and we can conclude that our mind too is waisting away. As long as we live on this earth our bodies will fall apart and waste away (believe me I’m living it, as my 20 year old body is not the same as my current body).
Our brains are not functioning as God originally intended (sin). Our bodies are totally depraved (Romans 3:9-18), affected and distorted by sin. Why do you think we get migraines, kidney stones, glaucoma, or even heart problems? It’s because we have been marked by sin! Just like the rest of our body, our brains are prone to illness as well. There is a chemical imbalance and its just part of living in a fallen and sinful world! If you believe in total depravity, you must believe that mental illness is real!
Now that we recognize mental illness, how do we detect it?
As the parents, you know your child better than anyone. With the help of teachers or caregivers you can help determine if your child needs to seek a professional. Here are a list of signs that may indicate you should contact a professional:
- Decline in school performance
- Poor grades despite strong efforts
- Constant worry or anxiety
- Repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in normal activities
- Hyperactivity or fidgeting
- Persistent nightmares
- Persistent disobedience or aggression
- Frequent temper tantrums
- Depression, sadness, or irritability
Without treatment, children with mental health issues are at increased risk of school failure, contact with the criminal justice system, dependence on social services, and even suicide. Early identification, diagnosis, and treatment can help children reach their full potential!