The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have often taught about the importance of mental health. Here’s a look at some of the things they’ve said about the reality of mental illness and how to work through various mental health struggles. 

The reality of mental health challenges

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, taught during her October 2019 general conference address: “It is normal to feel sad or worried once in a while. Sadness and anxiety are natural human emotions. However, if we are constantly sad and if our pain blocks our ability to feel the love of our Heavenly Father and His Son and the influence of the Holy Ghost, then we may be suffering from depression, anxiety or another emotional condition.”

The cause of depression or anxiety can sometimes be identified, but not always, she explained. “Our brains may suffer because of stress or staggering fatigue, which can sometimes be improved through adjustments in diet, sleep and exercise,” she said. “Other times, therapy or medication under the direction of trained professionals may also be needed.”

When left untreated, mental or emotional illness can lead to increased isolation, misunderstandings, broken relationships, self-harm and even suicide, Sister Aburto said. “I know this firsthand, as my own father died by suicide many years ago. His death was shocking and heartbreaking for my family and me. It has taken me years to work through my grief, and it was only recently that I learned talking about suicide in appropriate ways actually helps to prevent it rather than encourage it.”

In a 2018 devotional with young married couples in the Los Angeles area, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, acknowledged the prevalence of mental health struggles.

“Scholars reported in 2014 that 1 in 5 of the U.S. population between the ages of 18 to 25 had a mental illness,” President Oaks said.

In addition, between 2008 and 2016, there was a 40% increase in college students being diagnosed or treated for depression, and a 70% increase in diagnosis of or treatment for anxiety, President Oaks said. “Truly these are different times for your generation.”

Seeking medical help

Sister Aburto explained that “like any part of the body, the brain is subject to illnesses, trauma and chemical imbalances. When our minds are suffering, it is appropriate to seek help from God, from those around us, and from medical and mental health professionals.”

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.