Would you ask someone with a heart condition to pray their way out of it?


You wouldn’t ask a diabetic to pray for more insulin, so why would you ask someone with a chemical imbalance in their brain to deny themselves the medication or treatment they need? Why make someone feel guilty for taking medication that literally keeps them alive and functioning?

The brain, like the heart, is a major organ that sometimes needs medical intervention. Mental illness, addiction and suicide are not moral failings. They are illnesses or the result of one.

Oftentimes, those who suffer depression or some other mental illness are encouraged to pray their way out of it. Still others imply that this was God’s way of teaching you a lesson because you were not strong enough in your faith. You didn’t pray enough, love enough, try hard enough.

Those who have lost a loved one by suicide have also gotten harsh judgment from members of their own church, leaving them feeling hurt and questioning their own faith. They were told their loved one lacked faith or did something wrong. It’s looked upon as a “sin.”

Losing a loved one to suicide or overdose is hard enough without the added burden of people from your house of worship passing judgment. A loved one that died by suicide suffered in ways you many of us can’t imagine. That person’s brain betrayed them and told them there was but one way out.

I ask you to look within yourselves

Is your value system sealed so airtight you can’t grow within your own faith journey?

I’m not rallying against religion because having faith has helped so many find the emotional healing to move forward with their lives after a tragedy. It helps people find recovery, the strength to maintain recovery and come back after a relapse. For many, it is a lifesaver.

Those who suffer mental illness, a loss by suicide or recovery from addiction who are strong in their faith tell me that prayer with action is their recipe. In other words, they pray for the strength to help themselves and accept help when they need it and learn to accept that they may need medication as part of that process.

We should not be using religion to look down on others or to drape a veil on our own prejudices, but rather to support each other in a time of need. Your faith, whatever it may be, needs room to grow. Acceptance and learning should be part of that process.

Personally, I feel if you are not doing that, you can’t truly yourself a person of faith.

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AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

One thought on “Would you ask someone with a heart condition to pray their way out of it?”

  1. People really can say cruel and hurtful things, all the while meaning to be helpful. I pray that people will stop making such useless, insensitive comments. I also give prayers of thanks to God for the availability of medicine to treat so many conditions. Anne Moss, I’m totally in your camp – if help is available, be it therapy, medication, a combination, etc. – take it without shame. Such medications have helped me and many I know and I give thanks!

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