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Wellness Theology: Depression is on the Rise

September 17, 2013

Dr. Mercola had an article this week entitled Mental Health Problems on the Rise Across the Globe. One in 10 American adults report some form of depression says the article, but it is more than just a problem in the USA. Twenty-three percent of the world population has some sort of mental disorder or substance abuse problem. Many of these sufferers are on prescription medication as well. There are several more statistics showing the rise of these non-fatal mental illnesses, and references to studies saying that mental health needs to become a public health priority.

Speculating on what is the cause for this rise, Dr. Mercola says. “While I’m sure there are many contributing causes, from impoverished circumstances and poor health to poorly managed day-to-day stress and high-tension due to regional wars and strife just to name a few, I also think it’s important to consider massive recent shifts in food choices throughout the world.” The denatured Western diet is causing nutritional deficiencies and chronic illnesses, and there is an established connection (the gut-brain connection, a food-mood connection) where food literally impacts mental health. Mercola’s article goes into great detail on what to eat and what not to eat to improve your mental health.

But something is still missing here. This is more than just a public health issue where a disease or disorder can be discovered and attached to an individual. The human person is a body, mind and soul. There are public health policies for physical and mental health, but nothing for spiritual health, in fact spiritual health is a trivial, maybe even non-existent thing to most health professionals. With the exception of most holistic health providers and your pastor, if you have one, nobody thinks about spiritual health, let alone connecting it to your overall physical and mental health. Just like there is a gut-brain connection, there is also a gut-brain-soul connection.

Where’s the science you may ask? Here we must use the science of reason. We are living in the age of “me.” Self-centeredness, self-importance, and all the other self-hyphens create all sorts of health problems, starting on the spiritual level. There is an old Cary Grant movie, The Amazing Adventure, which covers the amazingadventureself-indulgence aspect really well. The main character, Ernest Bliss, is very rich and very bored to the point that he thinks he’s ill and goes to see a very wise doctor as suggested by a friend. The doctor tells Bliss he has a money illness, and Bliss snaps back, “I’m paying you to give me medical advice, not a lecture.” Then as now, we all think we know everything and aren’t interested in hearing about a better way, let alone pursuing the better way. Finally Bliss decides to take the doctor’s advice in the form of a bet. The advice is to live as a common man for a year, paying his own way by his daily labors; the only thing is a “certain amount of moral stamina would be needed” to pull off the doctor’s “medical” advice. And there is the rub: morals.

Morals and spiritual health go together, when morals decline so does spiritual health, and with it mental and physical health. Obviously most of the depressed people these days don’t have a money illness like Ernest Bliss, but it is a good guess that quite a few have a morals illness. After all, they don’t need God. God is a fairy tale; he’s for people who need a religious crutch; he’s unreasonable in his demands; or maybe some think they’ve committed an unforgivable sin and are afraid to go back to God. Each and every one of these needs God though.

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