My Mental Health Is Strengthened By Faith

My Mental Health Is Strengthened By Faith October 2, 2023

This October 10 is World Mental Health Day. As I reflected on this news, I remembered a time when I truly struggled with my life and the changes in it. God was my strength at that time. And He has been my support ever since. My faith truly helps my mental health. And I’d like to share how I found God as a teenager. Though it’s never too late to start your journey with God, I am grateful mine started early.

Cross Country Move

When I was 16 years old my parents moved us from the midwest to the east coast for my Dad’s job. It was the hardest move of my life. At 16 your whole world is your friends, and I had never imagined I would have to say goodbye. This was before the internet (and dinosaurs roamed the earth).

So saying goodbye was a severe blow. Back in those days if you wanted to call outside your town the phone companies charged extra. They called it “long distance” and it was triple what a regular call cost. Clearly, they were evil and trying to keep me from my friends.

Mental health struggle

Prayer brings peace

The move was so hard that I slipped into a depression. The kids on the East Coast were kind, but they weren’t my old friends. And we didn’t have the same connection, inside jokes, and sense of humor.

I felt like a stranger, floating in a new place. There were good sides to the move, but don’t ask a depressed teenager to recognize any of them. As far as I was concerned I had been abandoned in the outer reaches of space. And my mental health was not good.

In time I found things that I loved that helped with the deep sense of loss I was feeling. Music was among my favorite things. I joined the church choir and a few of the high school choirs. And the peace of the hymns and old spirituals we sang began to heal my heart. It was about that time that I discovered my Savior.

Living Like Old Jerusalem

We had a summer camp for teenagers that focused on God, it was called Youth Conference. It’s like Vacation Bible School on steroids. There are activities and devotionals, and this year the focus was on the life of the Savior. We were divided into families and did everything in those groups. We also dressed like Bible times, robes and all. And we were each assigned an illness.

Some of us were to be blind, some lame, and some couldn’t talk. (Not talking was my illness, and it was HARD not to talk.) We listened to the stories of Jesus and had activities where we had to help those who were assigned various illnesses. I remember one obstacle course where we had to lift one girl in our group over a wall. I’m so glad we didn’t drop her!

The Savior comes

And then as we sat eating lunch one day, the lights of the gym went off. There was a recording of lightning and thunder and we were told the Savior had been crucified.

We stayed in the dark for an hour, symbolizing how the Nephites had 3 days of darkness so deep that they couldn’t even light a fire after the Savior was crucified.

Then the lights came back on and we discussed how it must have been to see the Savior after His resurrection. Those of us who had assigned illnesses were freed from the casts, blindfolds, etc. And the relief was palpable.

At one point we each got to spend time in a quiet room with candlelight and a picture of the Savior. It was at that moment that I finally felt my depression begin to lift. I saw what a huge difference Jesus had made as He taught the people of Jerusalem.


I thought about the monumental gift of His healing, and the dramatic difference that loving your neighbor instead of trying to keep score created. And I knew that He knew me. He knew how sad I had been to say goodbye to my friends, but that He also wanted me to be free of that grief, and find joy in Him.

I felt warm love fill my heart, and soothe the near-constant ache that had been there. I read the scripture sitting below the image of the Savior. It was John 3:16.

16. For aGod so bloved the cworld, that he dgave his eonly begotten fSon, that whosoever gbelieveth in him should not perish, but have heverlasting ilife.

And I changed the verse to read “For God so loved ME that He gave His only begotten son…” I remembered the great relief I felt when I could speak again after my assigned muteness. And I realized that God could give me the same relief from my heartache.


I began to pray to find peace and the bloom where I was planted. I prayed to see the good things around me and find the gifts in this change in circumstance. In time I made lifelong friends.

But the relief the Lord gave me didn’t take long. I remember the feeling of peace was almost immediate. I knew without a doubt that God loved me, and that He hadn’t left me to deal with this alone.

The relationship I developed with my Savior in that time has been a huge and lasting blessing. More than once in my life I’ve had to make difficult adjustments because life is an ever-changing thing. We are meant to be ever-evolving and growing.

And I still cling to the knowledge that my Heavenly Father and Savior know me and know what I am going through. It gives me peace and strength and joy to know I am not alone.

Found an App for that!

I’m not the only one who has found peace through Christ. I’ve recently found an app called Skylight- Spiritual Self Care that aims to help us reduce our stress through regular prayer and spiritual focus. They shared this on the app.

“According to a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, religiosity, spirituality and frequency of prayer have been tied to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” can wreak havoc on our bodies when it’s chronically elevated. But spiritual engagement appears to help us keep this hormone at bay.”

What a revelation! Not only is knowing God good for our souls, but it’s also good for our bodies! I love that the Lord supports us in this fallen world in such a loving way. Skylight has more to share about reducing your stress through spiritual practice. I highly recommend you read the full article here. It’s very informative. 


I don’t know about you, but I am so grateful for the Gospel. The Good News (which is what the word Gospel means) gives us hope in the darkness, and now we know that reaching out to God in prayer literally relieves our bodies of stress. God is so good.

May we all take time this month to focus on our mental health. May we reach out to the Lord and find His peace to soothe our souls. And I hope that my experience will help guide you to find your own sources of support. This world is a hard place sometimes. But God is here, and He wants us to succeed and find joy. As we learn to lean on Him I know our lives will be changed for the better.


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