How Can Christians Help People With Depression?

By Yetta YaoMay 22nd, 2017

Nowadays, depression is just like a popular cold because many people easily develop this problem. How can Christians help people with depression? Zhang Jiale, a pastor of Changsha Church, discussed it.

"If you don't have a bandage, don't touch someone else's wound."

The author proposed seven "don'ts" when assisting depressed people:

1. Please don't assume that they are not suffering because we can't feel their pain.

2. Please don't say "I know exactly how you feel." Nobody could exactly feel the same way like others.

3. Please don't murmur around them and use phrases such as "Cheer up!" "Be open! " "You will be fine in the future! " "You should read the Bible more often and pray more sincerely." Such words just make patients more depressed and these phrases are the last things they want to hear. If they can cheer themselves up, they won't suffer from depression. People with severe depression can't control themselves.

4. Please don't expect them to behave like you and other people.

5. Please don't judge or criticize them. They have criticized themselves thousands of times. Even a little comment can make them even more depressed.

6. Please don't be too sympathetic. It only deepens their sense of guilt and failure. What they need is help instead of simple sympathy.

7. Please don't neglect the possibility of suicide. If you have learned about their intentions regarding suicide, remember to be sincere and ask experts for help. When depression begins to become severe, they are more likely to commit suicide.

Zhang has also given several suggestions on how to help these people.

To help a depressed person, we should have great love, patience and energy. When depression is serious and in a certain degree, we should accompany them for expert medical assistance. We should also take care of their daily needs and satisfy their needs. For example, we can cook nutritional food and take time to enjoy activities with them.

I have met a pastor who suffered from depression. He said: "The most painful thing for patients with depression is that no one can understand or help them. If we set a safe harbor in our hearts for them and genuinely accept them, the pain of depression will be relieved a lot."

Compared with sympathy, they need other people's understanding and acceptance the most to recovery. "I know how you feel, and we'll spend these hard times with you." "There will be difficulties and challenges, but let's face it." "Did you sleep well yesterday?" and "How is your appetite?" are some of the statements which can help these depressed people.

Let's pray for patients with depression. People with severe depression tend to think that God will not accept them at all, so they choose to stay away from God. We can pray with them word by word and bring them to God. At the same time, we should pray for ourselves to find the wisdom in order to help patients with depression.

Translated by Emma Ma

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