The Church is Having a Mental Health Crisis—Are You?
Take our free, brief emotional distress quiz here to determine if you might be experiencing signs of anxiety and depression, as well as gain access to mental health resources you can use to help yourself (and others). Results will be automatically generated from your anonymous responses, and you will immediately see your confidential score. No one on our team will be able see any of your individual multiple choice quiz answers.
Do you ever check in with your own mental health? If you don’t, it’s like ignoring a friend who’s asked you for help. Just as you would want to listen to and support your friend, it’s important to listen to what your own body and mind are saying. If you never pause to identify what you’re feeling, it can be difficult to ask for help.
According to researchers, we are in the middle of a global mental health crisis caused by compounding factors such as the pandemic and civil discord. Overall, mental health professionals have reported a steep increase in emotional distress—especially anxiety and depression—in the United States.
But it's not just the general population who are struggling. Many Christians and churches are reporting similar trends. For example, recent studies show that approximately 70% of church attendees will experience a trauma at some point in their life and more than 30% of pastors are at high or medium risk of burnout. We know we serve a God who moves mountains; however, sometimes we don’t realize the mountains are within our minds.
To further raise awareness about the current mental health crisis facing the church, our team at Spiritual First Aid, in collaboration with both the Rosemead School of Psychology and the Narramore Christian Foundation, has developed an online emotional distress quiz to help you better understand how anxiety and depression may be impacting your life.
Online screening is one of the easiest ways to self-reflect and consider if you should seek additional support. This quiz is for anyone wanting to determine to what degree they might be struggling with anxiety and depression.
About the Quiz
The emotional distress quiz is a scientifically-developed, brief 10-item self-assessment. This free online quiz was adapted from the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10), which has been used in hundreds of studies all over the globe and is known to be an accurate screener for identifying individuals who may be experiencing high levels of anxiety and depression. Think of the quiz as a way to get a "pulse" on your mental health. Rather than offering a diagnosis, it’s been designed to help you gain insight into how your mental health may be impacting your day-to-day life.
This quiz is specifically designed to identify distress levels based on recorded symptoms over the last 30 days. The site will categorize your scores and provide your results at the end. Possible quiz results range from coping well emotionally to severe emotional distress.
[Please note this quiz is for personal use only; it is not meant to serve as a formal diagnostic tool. For a formal clinical evaluation or services, speak with a licensed mental health or health care professional.]
Signs of Emotional and Spiritual Distress
Most people experience rhythms of varying emotions and symptoms; however, people in emotional distress tend to report symptoms such as lethargy, anxious thoughts, depression, restlessness, and feeling hopeless.
Though the quiz does not inquire about spiritual distress, individuals experiencing emotional distress also commonly report a wide range of spiritual struggles. They may:
- Feel as if long-held beliefs and life assumptions that help them navigate daily life are being challenged.
- Experience a lack of meaning, hope, and purpose.
- View God as judging, wrathful, and punishing.
- Experience spiritual distress (e.g., feeling abandoned by God).
- Experience a disconnect between what they believe and what they ’ve experienced.
Keep in mind, even if you score low on the quiz, it doesn't mean you don’t feel overwhelmed at times. We all manage life situations differently, and validating your emotional reactions can help you walk through them.
If you find that your emotions are debilitating and/or you are having trouble managing your overall well-being, we encourage you to make an appointment with a mental health professional or doctor to receive a formal evaluation regarding your emotional distress.
Statistically speaking, it’s also likely that some people reading this article (and who take the quiz) may need immediate support. For example, recent research has shown the number of people reporting suicidal thoughts has been trending upward since the start of the pandemic.
A recent Lifeway Research survey found 77% of Americans believe suicide has become an epidemic in the United States. If you’ve had recent thoughts of hurting yourself or about suicide, know you aren’t alone in feeling this way. If this describes your experience, call 988, 911, or your local emergency room right away.
We hope that identifying what you’re experiencing will be a step towards emotional wellness. Take a moment to pause and reflect on your feelings, whether you use the online quiz as a tool or not.
Although the church is facing a mental health crisis—and you may be as well—the more we understand our emotional and spiritual struggles, the more likely we can take action to overcome them.
Jamie Aten, Ph.D. and Kent Annan, M.Div. co-direct the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College and are also the co-founders of Spiritual First Aid. Esther Kocka is a graduate student at the Humanitarian Disaster Institute.
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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.