You know, it is God’s earnest desire that His children live abundant lives, prosper, and be in good health (John 10:10; 3 John 1:2). A huge part of an abundant and healthy life depends on our mental health. For when the mind is not well – when we are depressed, stressed, filled with anxiety or hurt – it directly affects our physical bodies and the environment around us. When we’re mentally distressed, it’s extremely difficult to live out God’s purpose and plan for our lives individually – and be an effective Team collectively.
We caught up with Faith and Mental Wellness champion, Brittney A. Moses, to chat about the importance of mental health in the Christian community, and learn more about her new mobile app, the Faith & Mental Wellness app.
Brittney, tell us a little bit about your background and why the integration of Christian faith and mental health is so important to you.
Hey guys! Well, right now I’m residing in California – born and raised in the Los Angeles area. I’ve been studying Clinical Psychology, which I found to be a passion of mine a few years ago after not only encountering mental illness in ministry, but also overcoming my own mental health challenges as a believer. I’d served with a couple churches as well as running my own non-profit ministry in 2012.
Over and over again – anxiety, depression, trauma, and suicidal rumination kept resurfacing among the young adults I’d walked with, and honestly, I felt helpless with what to practically do in these situations. So I began to educate myself more and more until it became so clear to me that this was a major need in the body of Christ and if anything, I needed to have a conversation about it.
This is what led to my blog, going back to school, my app, and really all the work I’ve been putting together around the integration of Faith and Mental Health. As I like to say, we are bio-psycho-spiritual beings. Our mind, body, and spirit are all playing a role in our wellbeing, and we need to view the individual holistically if we truly want to be effective in our ministries.
How’d you come up with the idea for the Faith and Mental Wellness app, and what’s one of its most popular features?
When I first wanted to have an app developed, it was mainly for the notification feature that pops up on your phone. I thought it could be so helpful to have an inspiring message alert you in the grips of anxiety, depression, or a crisis and restore faith back to your spirit in the moments you need it most.
This was something I wish I had when I was experiencing anxiety and depression – a pick-me-up reminder. But of course with an app, you can include such a variety of content, I thought why not just put all my writings, podcasts, devotionals, worksheets, guides and community in one place? It really became a one-stop-shop for all things Faith & Mental Health and I’m so encouraged to see how much it’s grown.
In your experience, what recurring theme causes us as the body of Christ the most mental distress/depression/sadness?
Oh, there can be so many dynamics that play a role in depression and many of them are just a part of being human. The Bible talks about how the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike (Matthew 5:45), meaning no one is immune to the pitfalls of life. So, that’s the first thing I want to clarify. Being distressed or struggling with depression doesn’t mean you’re a “weak Christian”; it just means you’re human.
Many times we experience these bouts because there’s some form of loss that’s taken place in our lives – whether it be the loss of a relationship, financial distress, not meeting personal expectations, moving and losing community/friends, etc. Some aspects of mental health are genetic or greatly impacted by trauma, leaving some people more vulnerable to fall into depression. It really depends on the person, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, the best thing we can do is start by meeting them where they are and asking what’s going on rather than judging or making assumptions of a person’s character.
What are your favorite “play calls” [scriptures] to help either fight mental distress or to maintain a healthy mind?
I’m so glad you asked! Here are a few that have helped myself and others in times of crisis:
- In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. – 1 Peter 5:10
- My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. – Psalm 73:26
- I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. – Isaiah 46:4
- Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. –Romans 8:18
Sometimes we get so sucked into our current state that we lose sight of the bigger picture of what God is doing in our lives and I find that these verses help renew the mind.
Do you feel there’s a stigma in the Christian faith community to seek professional mental health or to talk about issues regarding mental health? If so, how can we overcome these stumbling blocks so the Team can find healing?
I think that as those in the church are becoming more aware of mental health issues, they’re seeking to understand the different dynamics at play. However, there’s definitely still some stigma, and when that arises, it’s mainly because of an imbalanced perspective or a lack of understanding about mental illness in general.
It’s very easy for us to see things as 100% a spiritual issue. Yes, a spiritual issue can be at play, but there are sometimes biological issues with neurochemical imbalances in the brain, an underactive thyroid can play a role in depression, psychological issues where things like trauma or genetics may have impacted someone’s mental framework is common. At the end of the day, we have to be humble enough to realize when we need more tools or need to refer to those who have the tools for a certain area of someone’s life.
We tend to understand this with physical health, but not as much with mental health. The best way to start overcoming that stigma is to begin educating ourselves and even just sitting with those who are struggling long enough to understand the space they’re in without pre-conceived judgments.
How can the Team support you in prayer or otherwise – any prayer requests, new initiatives, or upcoming events?
You guys are so thoughtful, thank you! Prayer is always appreciated and needed. I have quite a journey ahead with school and this is a heavy subject so continuously being renewed and refreshed by His Spirit is so necessary. I’m excited to announce that I just partnered with the YouVersion Bible App so my latest reading plan, The 7 Day Anxiety Detox, is up there for anyone who’s interested! Other than that, you can always catch me over at BrittneyAMoses.com to follow or support any of the work I’m doing over on the blog! Thanks, guys!
Team, be sure to connect with Brittney and her excellent resources to keep your mental health in tip-top shape. If you’re looking for a community that supports mental health from a Christian viewpoint, consider Brittney’s Faith & Mental Wellness group on Facebook, or if you need to speak with a Christian mental health professional, consider our friends at My Christian Counselors, a service of Faithful Counseling.
Connect with Brittney Moses on:
iTunes Podcast: Faith & Mental Wellness with Brittney Moses
Download the Faith & Mental Wellness app: