A few weeks ago we talked through the levels of anxiety and depression this generation experiences. But these aren’t just specific to Gen Z. I have counseled students, visited students in hospitals and stood beside freshly dug graves.
While I am not a licensed counselor, there are a few things I have and would say to someone suffering from depression. Before I do, just know that afterward there are links to resources for anyone needing them.
Seek Help Immediately
Whether you’re a student suffering from depression, a parent or an adult reading this…get help immediately. Don’t put it off. Speak up. There are people around you who will help carry that burden. Call 1-800-273-TALK and someone will answer with no judgement. They can help you with next steps. Whatever you do, don’t wait.
You are loved
As a Jesus follower my identity is wrapped up in the idea that I am loved by a loving creator. Even on my best days I can forget this. Sitting with students battling depression this thought is not only forgotten, it’s not a thought at all.
Remind them. Reinforce that. Tell them over and over. Better yet show them over and over. Speak God’s agape love over their lives in your prayers but also in the everyday. Declare that over them.
You are Not Alone
The enemy loves for us to feel isolated. If we’re isolated we’re weakened. But the truth is we aren’t alone. I get this is easy for me to say but it doesn’t make it any less true…even if I somehow became physically alone God is still with me. Hebrews 13:5 says “…I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
We have a God that desperately loves and pursues us. There will never be a moment so dark that God won’t find us!
Depression isn’t a Lack of Faith
I don’t know when this started but I wish I could slap the person responsible. Depression isn’t a lack of faith. You can’t always pray it away. Even the Old Testament prophet (God’s spokesperson) battled depression and even asked God to just take him (1 Kings 19).
Is having heart problems a lack of faith? Is a broken arm? Of course not. So why would it for our brains?
Do what is spiritually wise and what is physically prudent. Seek spiritual counsel and prayer but also make an appointment with your doctor. Take medication. Do things that help with your mental health.
These are just a few things that can help. They aren’t meant to be a catch all list. Below are some resources to help you and your friends or family in the next your next steps.