An important day-long event is happening today at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church on mental illness. The Catholic diocese of Orange County and the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Orange County are co-sponsoring the day dedicated to how churches can better meet the needs of the mentally ill. The Warrens lost their son, Matthew, when his depression so overwhelmed him that he took his life and so want to help others who ache with the pain that consumed him. The conference comes just days after a friend lost his sister to the same. Another friend, David Franks, describes depression as “the modern affliction,” writing in the foreword to The Catholic Guide to Depression: “The pain of history piles up, and depression seizes more and more. The advantages of the modern world are there to see, but an immense psychic cost is incurred. Constant innovation and movement have wrought dislocation and alienation, amplifying the anxiety of moral existence.”
He continues, writing:
Some simple human hope is necessary or one cannot do anything. All of us get out of bed in the morning because there is something to be done, some desire to fulfill, requiring a basic expectation that our powers can have effect in the world, that there are purposes worth pursing. Depression means losing grip on simple human hope. It means losing the basic tendency or appetite to expand, to rise. It is to be trapped, and sinking.
Today at Saddleback, thousands gather to bring hope and healing to those who feel the deluge of the darkness of depression. You can watch or listen in live here. And I interviewed one of the speakers, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, chief author of that Guide to Depression, here and here, just recently, at some length.