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Mental health bible study

This Bible Study is designed to be used in a small group, maybe as a way of introducing the topic in your home group. Start by considering "What is good mental health like?". Some of the words and phrases in common use - like 'mental health' - don't occur in the Bible. We therefore need to pause and think: Do we all mean the same thing by the phrase? And, what are the contact points between this phrase and the Bible.

Let's think about this phrase 'mental health'.

-- Take 2 minutes to come up with some descriptions of what this phrase means to you
-- Compare your description with the other people doing this study

Look again at your list - mental health is more than not having a mental illness, isn't it? Good mental health is characterised by a person's ability to fulfill a number of key functions and activities, including:

- develop emotionally, creatively, intellectually and spiritually
- initiate, develop and sustain mutually satisfying personal relationships
- face problems, resolve them and learn from them
- are confident and assertive
- are aware of others and empathise with them
- use and enjoy solitude
- play and have fun
- laugh, both at themselves and at the world

What is also likely to be evident from your list is that no-one is perfectly mentally healthy - we are all on a spectrum - and we may move up and down on it from day to day

'Mental health' and the Bible.

Having now developed an understanding of what is meant by the phrase mental health, let's now begin to develop links between the phrase and the Bible. Before Adam and Eve were affected by sin, it seems logical to assume that they had perfect mental health.

-- Read Genesis 1:24 to 2:25 and list the things which God had provided for them which will have contributed to their good mental health?
-- Compare your findings and try to represent them in a picture or diagram

Your list probably includes most of the following and more besides:

- good physical health,
- creative occupation,
- human companionship,
- unhindered relationship with God,
- security, food and drink,
- surrounded by beauty.

Certainly they will have lacked nothing that they needed for good physical and mental health!

God's provision for own our mental health

Reflect quietly about the things God has provided now for you which can help with your mental health. There will be things that are also challenging your mental health, but for now focus on all the things which God provides which contribute to sustaining you. List some things in the space below:

Spend time in prayer and thanksgiving for the things God has provided to sustain your mental health.

For further discussion:

Think of 3 things which you believe can compromise good mental health. Spend some time thinking about how these things seem to do it.
Martin Hird, 23/11/2019
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