Everyone wants to feel valued. In fact, it is an essential human need. Just as there is physiological hunger, the yearning to be loved is deep within the core of each one.
According to the 2015 World Health Organization Global Health Estimates, “Globally, depressive disorders are ranked as the single largest contributor to non-fatal health loss.” It is also “a major contributor to suicide” WHO stresses. “Mental, neurological and substance use disorders are highly prevalent and burdensome globally. The gap between what is urgently needed and what is available to reduce the burden is still very wide. Successful scaling up is the joint responsibility of governments, health professionals, civil society, communities, and families, with support from the international community.”
We, as faithful Christians and responsible citizens, could very well contribute to addressing these pressing health concerns. We need not be mental health specialists in order to do our part. In my call to healing by God’s grace and armed with the passion to share the goodness which He let me personally experience, I have walked with those who have undergone depression.
Studies in counseling, training programs on behavioral disorders, books I have written, programs I have been hosting, and workshops I have been facilitating on the psycho-spiritual journey to wholeness, have all been part of this mission of reaching out to others. It has oftentimes involved listening with love and patience in a nonjudgmental way. Individuals want to unburden to someone they feel they can trust, and even if the healing does not happen overnight, knowing that there is someone who is present to them long-term is already a big help to them.
Suicide is a very sensitive topic which is normally discussed with much discomfort. In making my rounds to many schools around the Philippines, I have heard of several cases of suicide and increasing rates of depression. Depression does not always end in suicide, but it could lead to such.
It is worth noting that the Church is now opening doors for people to talk about how to address these urgent pastoral matters. It is very important then that we provide safe spaces in our homes, schools, in the workplace, and within the Church.
The good news is, many parishes and communities are initiating accompaniment ministries.
God’s Word reminds us, “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give” (Matthew 10:8). Just as the Lord heals our wounds, He calls us to be instruments of His hope and His healing love to others.