should clergy be educated on mental illness before preaching about it?

July 10, 2017

By Jasmin Pierre*, AFROPUNK contributor

Let me start out by saying that I’m not trying to take a shot at pastors, nor do I think every single pastor feels this way. However, we must address the elephant in the room. This is a serious question on a topic that is so taboo in the church. I sometimes find myself watching online sermons about mental illness, just to see what some pastors and ministers have to say about it. And often times I’m very disappointed by the choice of words that are spoken toward someone who is dealing with mental health issues.

“It’s just a demon! You don’t need therapy, just read your bible.”

“Having depression just means you’re stuck in the past. You need to get over that.”

“If you would just have a more positive mind frame and keep your eyes on God you wouldn’t be so depressed.”

None of those statements will help someone living with mental illness. I believe that a lot of pastors who say things like this don’t realize they’re doing more harm than good. I’ve also realized a lot of pastors have little knowledge of the psychological aspects of mental illness because they don’t truly care to see it as a real illness.

Some pastors might have an idea of what mental illness does to the spirit, but should they be more educated on what mental illness can do to the mind and body as well? Should they be willing to offer the church mental health resources instead of just shaming them for going through their illness?

July is Minority Mental Health Month. Did you know that predominately black and non-black POC churches have some of the highest stigmas when it comes to mental illness? Please know that you’re not alone and you should not be ashamed of your mental illness. God loves you and would want you to get help, please don’t let a few choice words keep you from seeking it.


If you could take a brief online class to learn more about mental health and how to handle it within the church would you do it? If so you may be interested in taking my week long class called “You Can Pray And See A Therapist”. The class is valued at 25 dollars for the month of July.

You can email me at: to sign up

*Jasmin Pierre is a Life Coach, Mental Health Advocate, Motivational Speaker, and author of “A Fight Worth Finishing”. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana. Jasmin is constantly fighting for the rights of those suffering from depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. You can visit her website if you’re interested in her coaching services for mental health.
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