Our church is currently in a preaching series called, “It’s okay to not be okay”. This series is around mental health. And last Sunday I preached on depression and loneliness. And then again, last night, we had a Depression info evening with James Sharret a clinical psychologist.

In the other night’s info evening, Christine and I shared our story around depression. Christine was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1997. And after the initial shock, Christine became determined to find mental health. And for the past 24 years Christine has been a high functioning adult. She is fully engaged with her life, her family and her role in our church.

The message? There is hope for people suffering from mental health issues. And the reason for this blog is not the retelling of Christine’s story – that’s for her to share. The reason is to bring the subject of mental health to the fore.

Here are the main things Christine and I learnt through her (our)story.

  1. No shame1 in 3 South Africans will have experience some form of depression in the course of a lifetime. There is no shame in suffering from a mental illness.
  2. Validation – people suffering from depression don’t need society’s judgement or “fix”. Sufferers need validation. It’s ok to not be ok.
  3. Desire for mental health (humility) – a sufferer must first Humilityknow there is hope and desire to start the hard road to mental health. A sufferer needs help to overcome depression and asking for help takes humility.
  4. Medication and counselling. Medication without counselling will ensure the lifestyle habits which may contribute to depression will remain. Medication helps, but sufferers need to change their lifestyle habits.
  5. Support and support – sufferers need support. And those who support will often need support.
  6. It’s hard but worth it.

Watch out for more thoughts I may write about this.

What have you done to manage your mental health? Let me know in the comments below.

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