Subscription Preferences:

How the church and strong families can help adolescents deal with depression


Listen to the 10 min audio
Read the transcript:

EPIDEMIC OF ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION DRAWS UPDATED GUIDELINES

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, NPR recently ran a story with the headline “Only about 50 percent of adolescents with depression get diagnosed before reaching adulthood.” The story goes on to say as many as 2 in 3 depressed teens don’t get the care that could help them.

Dr. Rachel Zuckerbrot, a board certified adolescent psychiatrist and associate professor at Columbia University, along with the American Academy of Pediatricians, has issued updated guidelines that calls for universal screening for depression in teens.

DR. REEDER: Tom, it’s really interesting how this “disciplined and science” of psychology carves out its space pretty profoundly but I do believe they have their finger on an issue and that issue is the rising evidence and the rising incidence of depression.

WHAT DOES CHRISTIANITY SAY ABOUT DEPRESSION?

From a Christian world and life view, I’d like to draw a distinction. I believe that this three-fold view of humanity that you are spiritual, physical, and psychological, that does not stand the scrutiny of Scripture.

The Bible teaches that man is made up of two parts, male and female, are physical and spiritual. Now, they are entwined with each other and the physical affects the spiritual and the spiritual affects the physical so there are some physical causes of what we would call depression: loss of hope, loss of any joy, any happiness, a pessimistic view of life that has eventually led some people, obviously, to the taking of their life. It’s heartbreaking for all of us when we see that and then when we see people in the throes of depression.

PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL DYNAMICS CAN SUFFER ILLNESS

I believe it’s caused physically because we’re fallen human beings, physical dynamics, where the body is not functioning right. There’s certain chemical things that are going on like synapses misfires and all of that that’s taking place can lead to depression and those should be treated medically — very carefully, now, because there have been a number of cases of suicide when people are not properly cared for when they’re medically treated for physical causes of depression.

And then, of course, is the spiritual dynamic. The Psalmist speaks of this a number of times: “My soul, why art thou disquieted? Why are you cast down?” We find it in the very first incident of the Bible where God gives the diagnosis of depression: “Cain, why is your face cast down?” We find it in Nebuchadnezzar, whose arrogance had led him into the field to live with his face down like an animal and there is a spiritual dynamic that can lead to depression. And then, sometimes, obviously, there can be the two at work within each other.

BUT WHY THE UPTICK IN INSTANCES AMONG TEENS?

Now, we want to ask ourselves a question at the moment, though, is why is there such a plethora? Why is there almost an epidemic of this depression? Now you are putting children under a mandate to be screened by people of various levels of competencies in which parental rights can be set aside by the “profession” of psychology and its screening process.

Now, having said that, is there an almost epidemic of depression among the rising generation? And I think the answer is yes. We need to ask ourselves, “What are the causes of it?” Tom, I think it’s very clear, as a pastor, I am running into ministry counseling issues of depression among young people much more than I ever had 20 years ago. I look back at my own childhood and I don’t ever remember anything like this — I’m sure there was to some degree, but nothing like this.

NEW CULTURE WITHOUT GOD, WEAK CHURCHES, AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Why is it? Well, I think we need to take a look at the environment in which our children are being raised. The secularization of our culture, the message of a God-centered life which brings hope in the God and Glory and grace is now diminished and set aside by the pressures of the culture and the cultural elite, the curtailing of the First Amendment, both in terms of freedom of speech and the free practice of religion — so that whole element of the dynamic of hope that comes through a vibrant Christianity is lost.

Secondly, within the church, we have lost our focus upon the Gospel which gives hope that we use to pour forth into the culture and then, when we’ve got hope pouring forth from an institution like the church of Jesus Christ and the people of God, that’s going to make a difference and we ought to be bringing that message. Somehow, we have gotten sidetracked into other messages and causes other than the cause of getting up on the mountain and announcing good news.

A third thing, I think, is social media, where kids, their whole life is determined by how many likes they have and things that people can say through social media without being face to face with an individual.

CHURCHES MUST SPREAD SPIRITUAL HOPE

Do I believe that there are some physical reasons for depression that can be treated? Yes, but I think the vast majority is a spiritual depression that is coming from a society that has vacuumed out of its existence the message of hope in Jesus Christ. It does not want to hear the bad news that we’re sinners. Therefore, it does not want to hear the good news that you can be saved from your sins.

Now, the question is will the church of Jesus Christ tackle this or not and I believe the Bible calls us to keep up our message and step up our game into the world with the message of hope for the sake of young people who need to hear the hope of the Gospel.

DO NOT DEPEND ON GOVERNMENT TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT

Dare I say one more thing, Tom, about that? If there is an epidemic of depression — and I actually believe there is — I don’t think the answer is to create a cast of individuals that the government forces you to go to to get their approval and then to be given medication upon their decision or not. I do think parents ought to be educated on what do you look out for in terms of depression, but I think what we really need is a vibrant, healthy church of Jesus Christ that is on-mission with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

CHURCHES: SEE THE NEED AND SPREAD THE MESSAGE OF HOPE, ESPECIALLY IN OWN FAMILIES

And, boy, you’re talking about a rich harvest field in a culture that’s in despair because of its secularization. That is a rich harvest field for us to come and say, “Listen, there is no hope there and you see where it’s headed but, over here, let me tell you where there’s hope,” and then for the church of Jesus Christ to redouble its efforts to bring the power of the Gospel to bear upon relationships so that kids see their hope in true friendships and true fellowships that are permeated with the hope of Christ, and that they see their hope that they are ambassadors of Christ that are sent into the world for Christ and they have a glorious mission and a glorious message to take.

There is much reason for hope: you are someone that Jesus Christ has died for, you are someone that the Spirit of God dwells within, you are someone that has a task and a mission and a message that counts for all eternity and what you do matters for all eternity. There is the hope of a vital relationship with God that gives you meaningful relationships and responsibilities in life.

FAMILY LIFE IS KEY — STRONG MARRIAGE AND CHURCHES RAISE UP CHILDREN WITH HOPE

And then for us to disciple families in which, once again, children are raised not in the hopelessness of broken homes, not in the fear that the home is going to break up, not in the violence that is now invading homes and abusiveness, not in the despair of the sexual revolution that destroys bodies and hopes and lives and dreams, but in the hope of Jesus Christ.

And we see that in stronger marriages, we see that in stronger families, we see that in stronger churches that get back to what they’re supposed to be doing, which is evangelizing and discipling and worshiping in the community of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ in which you reach out to people by bringing to them the hope of the Gospel and bringing them into relationships that are meaningful so they get a taste of what it means to be loved in Christ and what it means to be loved by the power of the Gospel of grace.

I think that’s the great hope. The hope is not in the creation of a new cast of professionals. Unlike what the secular culture says, you do have a soul, and unlike what the secular culture says, you do have hope, and that hope is blessed — the blessed hope Christ the Lord of Glory.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

25 mins ago

University of Alabama System chooses new interim chancellor Finis E. St. John

The University of Alabama System has chosen an interim chancellor to replace the retiring of current chancellor Jay Hayes at the end of the month.

Finis E. “Fess” St. John, IV, who currently serves on the UA system’s Board of Trustees, will succeed Hayes on August 1.

St. John will take an unpaid leave of absence from St. John & St. John law firm in Cullman and will serve as interim chancellor without compensation.

97

“The fact that Fess St. John is willing to serve as our Interim Chancellor without compensation is a tremendous public service,” Board Trustee Joe Epsy said in a statement.

“We are extremely grateful that he is willing to step in and take on these complex administrative duties at a crucial time for our campuses and the UAB Health System,” Epsy continued, in part.

St. John graduated cum laude from Alabama in 1978, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Jasons. He went on to receive a law degree from the University of Virginia.

2 hours ago

Georgia woman gets five years for filing fraudulent tax returns through Birmingham business

A Georgia woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for preparing and filing fraudulent tax returns through her Alabama-based business.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, in a news release, says U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced 38-year-old Patrice Anderson on Monday for 13 tax-related counts. A federal jury convicted Anderson in September for using her Birmingham-area business, Queen’s Fast Tax, to file returns between 2009 and 2012 that she knew contained false information.

70

Evidence at trial showed that Anderson filed tax returns claiming refundable credits to which her clients were not entitled so that they could receive much larger refunds than they were eligible for. In return, Anderson would charge the clients abnormally high fees – up to $3,000 per fraudulent return – to file their taxes.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Sign-up now for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer News.

WATCH: Real estate investor Brian Trippe discusses overcoming lethargy to reach full potential

In this episode of Executive Lion’s Living Life On Purpose, Andrew Wells and Matt Wilson sit down with Brian Trippe to discuss life, business and overcoming lethargy to reach your full potential.

Brian Trippe is a successful real estate investor, author, family man, servant-hearted leader, and a follower of Christ. Brian has a passion for helping people learn and grow in life and in business through Alareia.

163

WATCH:

3 Takeaways


1) Brian was at a point where he did not want to work or grow. He had to break through that malaise and now he is seeing the fruits of his labor. We all have to overcome the laziness and push through whether we feel like moving forward or not. Breakthrough is on the other side of that.

2) Sometimes, we have early experiences that we can draw from that will help us in the future. Brian was a coach and now he loves to coach people in business to reach all they are capable of achieving. Try to figure out what experiences you have that you can draw from and teach others from your own trial and error.

3) Purpose is a driver in Brian’s life. When you have purpose, the daily grind becomes less difficult. You know why you are doing something versus simply focusing on what you are doing. Discover your purpose and life becomes fun!

3 hours ago

Kay Ivey hits back at Walt Maddox campaign for ‘limited energy’ comment, says he ‘doesn’t have enough energy’ to take a stand on Kavanaugh

Last week, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and his campaign for governor took a shot at Governor Kay Ivey’s age, saying the 73-year-old has “limited energy.”

The Ivey campaign responded Monday with a news release blasting Maddox for remaining silent on President Donald Trump’s Brett Kavanaugh nomination to SCOTUS, claiming the Tuscaloosa mayor “doesn’t have enough energy to take a stand” one way or the other on Kavanaugh.

The Ivey news release reads as follows:

171

Walt Maddox has shown his true liberal colors by refusing to support President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. His repeated dodging and silence has shown that he is going to toe the liberals’ pro-choice party line.

Last week, when asked multiple times about President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Maddox refused to support Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who will protect life and defend the Second Amendment. Apparently Maddox doesn’t have enough “energy” to take a stand.

The reality is now clear as day — Maddox’s moderate talk doesn’t match his liberal walk. Alabamians won’t be fooled by a smooth talker who won’t stand up to the radical liberals who now run the Democrat party.

Governor Kay Ivey has made it clear: she supports President Trump’s pick, and encourages all United States Senators to vote for his confirmation. Ivey will always fight to protect Alabamians’ Constitutionally-protected rights, and she is the only candidate for Governor who has been endorsed by the NRA, Susan B. Anthony List, and the Alabama Citizens for Life.

4 hours ago

Trump ally Roger Stone makes a last-minute endorsement ahead of Alabama primary runoff

Former Trump advisor Roger Stone is traveling Alabama with Troy King on Monday, touting King’s credentials in an attempt to give him the edge over Attorney General Steve Marshall in Tuesday’s primary runoff election.

“As you can imagine, I get dozens of requests from good candidates, men and women across the country who are supporters of the president and real conservatives,” Stone said at an event Monday morning in Huntsville. “There’s just not enough days in the month, hours in the day to help everybody I’d like to help.”

“But this race is particularly important because the choice could not be more clear-cut,” Stone said.

55

“I hope the people of Alabama will recognize that Steve Marshall is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a liberal Democrat, posing as a conservative to get through tomorrow’s runoff,” he said.

Stone will be traveling with King to Birmingham, Mobile and Ozark on Monday to reiterate his endorsement pledge.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News