2014 February Newsletter

Agnes Ip

Depression is a common disorder among urban residents. The symptoms vary widely from person to person and reveal themselves at different times. When a patient continues to feel depressed, anxious, empty, or guilty, this imbalance may lead to suicidal thoughts. In more serious cases, psychosis may occur. Many patients may experience tremendous changes in their daily living. They may have difficulties concentrating on work or studies and eventually lead to negative thoughts and distress. This in turn causes worry and helplessness in families and friends.
Is this a biological, psychological, or spiritual problem? I am afraid the answer to this question is not as straightforward as 1+1=2. It is not a black or white situation as if depression is a result of spiritual weakness. If this were the case, then the patient will take the blame upon themselves and further isolate themselves and live in pain and darkness. Even if the patient is undergoing treatment and has support through prayer, it does not mean that he will recover in an instant. Most church congregations do not have much knowledge about this illness. They do not know how to relate to the patients and their families. The interview with a pastor’s family in this newsletter is a prime example.
Presence aims to spread awareness of depression in churches using this publication. In 2014, we also plan to use our family magazine to take a deeper look into depression. A pamphlet aimed toward teenagers will be issued, titled “Understanding Depression.” There will be a series of seminars on mental health between March and April. In October, we will have a discussion with pastoral staff about how churches can minister to the depressed and their families. In addition, RE:NEW will have training for young people about the use of money and Christian work ethics. Presence Possibilities will provide workshops for high school and college students on résumé writing and how to choose a major and career. Presence invites you to join us by supporting our team through prayer and offering so that we can better serve families and the community.

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