Catholics & Depression, Anxiety, & Mental/Emotional Illness. What is Your Experience?

St. Dymphna, Patroness of those Suffering with Mental Illness, Pray for Us.

For the Christian, mental illness is especially difficult.

Depression, Anxiety, and other mental and emotional disorders are often characterized by Christians as moral, spiritual, or characterological failings.  Christians often feel that we should be able to pray away emotional struggles.  Likewise, we’re often afraid to seek secular counselors because they might not support our faith journeys.  Further, although Catholic pastors tend to be more accepting of the reality of mental illness and more supportive of psychotherapy than many types of Protestant ministers, research shows that Christian pastors, in general,  are often dismissive of mental illness.

One of my goals for Faith on the Couch is to be a place for Christians–and especially Catholic Christians–who are dealing with mental, emotional, and relationship problems can find support and fellowship.

If you are Catholic and have struggled with depression, anxiety, or other mental/emotional problems I would like to invite you to share your experiences of trying to seek help in the Church.  Was your pastor supportive?  Were the people in your parish or bible study or men’s or women’s group understanding?  Overall, how good a job has the Church done of attending to your needs?  Please feel free to email your story/reflections to me at

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