Articles, Blog

Holistically Managing Mental Illness | Rick & Kay Warren

December 22, 2019

Kay: You may have just been diagnosed with
a mental illness, or you may have a family member who has just been diagnosed, and yet
your mind is full of thoughts. You might even be a little frightened, because that’s an
overwhelming diagnosis. We want to talk to you in this, about how to manage a mental
illness from a holistic perspective. Probably the very first thing from this diagnosis is,
your psychiatrist may have said to you that adding medication may be the very first thing
that you need to do. Taking medication for a mental illness, that can be very frightening.
You don’t know how you’re going to feel, you don’t know how it’s going to make you act,
you don’t know is it going to change you. It can really be a frightening thing.
Rick: Yeah, and as a pastor who studied the Bible for over 40 years, I can tell you this,
it’s not a sin to be sick. It’s not a sin to take medication. In fact, a lot of people
think that … they’re ashamed of taking medicine. Well, why? If my heart doesn’t work and I
take heart medicine; there’s no shame in that. If my liver doesn’t work and I take liver
medicine; there’s no shame in that. If my brain isn’t working work and I take medicine
for my brain; there’s no shame in that. There’s no stigma to that, it’s just part of being
a human being and living in a broken world. Kay: That’s what we want to talk about, is
how to manage mental illness in a holistic way. Sometimes people think if they go and
they get a diagnosis and somebody says, “Okay, here’s the illness that you have. Here’s the
medication that you have, and we also want you to involved in therapy.” Sometimes we
can think that that’s all that’s necessary. Sometime that’s good, sometimes taking medication
and being in weekly therapy dealing with your mind and dealing with your thoughts, is incredibly
… Rick: Your emotions.
Kay: Your emotions, is incredibly helpful, but that’s not all. You’re going to need to
work in some other area. There’s some other things that are going to add benefit to you
managing a mental illness. Rick: Yeah, you might even take it in layers.
You might start at the most basic level, which biological, and that is what’s wrong in my
body that needs some medicine. Then what’s wrong in my thinking that maybe needs some
straightening out of the way that I think. Of course, a good counselor can help you on
that. The Bible says, in the multitude of counselors
there is safety. In other words, it is wise to get advice from other people. People see
things that we don’t see. They can also help us interpret experiences in our life, like
trauma, abuse, difficulties that we’re been unable to even think about ourselves.
Kay: You mentioned physically, that things can go wrong inside our bodies that can lead
to mental illness. Also, there are things that you can do to control what happens in
your body. Meaning you and I are totally in control of how much sleep we get. You and
I are … Rick: Right.
Kay: Totally in control of how we eat. There are things you can adjust, your diet. Maybe
there’s some foods you need to cut, maybe there’s some food … if you’re just eating
Ho-Ho’s and coke every day for breakfast, there’s a good chance that’s probably not
going to help your mental health or your physical health. Really take a look seriously at what
you’re eating, how much sleep you’re getting, how much rest, how much physical activity.
When you add that physical component, it will have an effect on your mental health.
Rick: What we’re saying is that no mental health issue is simple; they’re all complex.
There’s a biological component that maybe require medicine, there is a physiological
component that could involve rest, exercise, and taking care of your body. There is a thought
component, which can involve helping interpret the experiences of life that make your illness
either worse or better. Then of course their relationships. Relationships have a profound
effect on our lives. Good relationships help us cope better with the natural problems we
have, bad relationships make it worse. Kay: Yeah, and we’ve found, because our son
lived with a mental illness for a very, very long time. In our family, and in our relationships,
we found that sometimes the relationship became strained; that mental illness caused there
to be some chaos, caused there to be some relationships that just didn’t work well.
As you’ve maybe just been diagnosed or you are a family member of somebody has, one of
the aspects in learning to manage mental illness in a holistic way is to approach relationships.
There may be some relationship repair that needs to happen, that will help you or help
your family member, as you guys cope with this diagnosis; this sometimes very frightening
diagnosis. We’re talking about what you can do take …
Rick: Let me say about that too. If you are a loved one of someone who’s struggling with
mental illness, and they have isolated you or they have had conflict with you or whatever
strain in the relationship; don’t take it personal.
Kay: Yeah, that reminds me. One of the best pieces of advice that we ever got, in helping
our son and in our family relationships, was to not take it personally and to listen to
the music, not just the words. Sometimes people who have mental illness say terrible things.
Let’s be honest, sometimes people, especially if they’re in a particular episode or if they’re
in a moment in which they’re struggling. Rick: They’re in pain.
Kay: They’re in deep pain, and they will say things, or you will say things that later
you go, “Why did I say that? I don’t mean that. These are people I love.” For us as
family members, we learned not to take it personally, to listen to what is, to what
his heart was not necessarily what his words were. That was a huge piece of advice for
us. Relationships in managing mental illness will have to addressed and helped.
Rick: Of course your relationship to God is a very important factor. The spiritual component
in mental illness, God has power that nobody else has. The Bible tells us that Jesus has
healing power in his words and in his life. Many years ago, probably 30 years ago, I went
through an entire year of depression. When I was going through that depression, one of
the many things I did, I took some medication, I went to see a therapist. I also read through
the Book of Psalms. As I read through the Book of Psalms, I underlines every verse that
had to do with depression or was a word on encouragement to me. I still have that Bible
30 years later. When I know someone who is discourage, somebody is going through a tough
time; I’ll often open that Bible and flip to those exact verses that helped me through
those painful days. Kay: Yeah, I would say if you are the person
who has just been diagnosed with mental illness or your family member, we cannot over-emphasize
how you’ve got to build yourself spiritually. There is a spiritual aspect and a spiritual
component. To be able to have a group, maybe just … maybe there’s just two or three verses,
you don’t have to have the whole Bible. You’ve got two or three verses that you can hang
onto in those moments when you’re feeling very low or the pain is so deep.
I don’t there’s a place in the Psalm’s, where the psalm says, “Darkness is my only companion.”
The people in the Bible, who wrote the Bible, really understand depression, understand pain.
Jesus understands it. Not only do you need to have that spiritual strength for yourself,
but line up some people who will pray for you. Some people who will promise, who will
commit to you that they will pray. There is this spiritual aspect that you’ve got to manage,
as we holistically manage mental illness. Rick: Part of the spiritual component in managing
mental illness, is to hold onto the promises of God. There are over 7,000 promises in the
Bible. I was talking to someone the other day who was struggling with schizophrenia.
He said, “The promise I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.” He said, “Got
him through his darkest days.” Those promises are there, that you could hold on to when
you can’t believe everything you think. You can’t believe everything you see, but you
can believe everything God says to you. The more you understand how much God loves you
unconditionally, that he sees, he cares, he knows, he grieves, and he can help; these
are the spiritual components that you need to hold onto.
Kay: Yeah. Just remember that you are not just your mind, you’re not even just your
emotions; you are a whole-being. You are a body, a soul, and a spirit. To manage mental
illness, don’t overwhelmed by it. Just … but to go after this approach to manage it with
medication, through therapy, through your body, how you take care of your body, the
relationships that may need to strengthened. Absolutely, at the very bottom line, is strengthening
your relationship with God. He is the best person of all to help you manage.


  • Reply Tita Martin September 20, 2014 at 3:30 am

    Wise words. Thank you.
    God bless your lifes and Ministry Pastors Warren

  • Reply Eclectifying October 24, 2015 at 7:53 am

    If my heart is not working right, I take a physical medication to help with the physical problem. If my brain is not working right, I take a physical medication to help with a physical problem. If my mind is not working right, I take a physical medication to help with a mental problem? NO. If my mind is not working right, I get transformed by the renewing of my mind. If my spirit is not working right, I don't take physical medication to solve it. I take the Living Water and the Bread from heaven. I'm sorry, but the logic presented in this video does not follow.

  • Reply Eclectifying October 24, 2015 at 7:55 am

    There has never been a human body that was malfunctioning because it was lacking modern pharmaceuticals. God made our bodies from the earth. The materials from the earth are what nourish and strengthen our bodies so that they function properly.

  • Reply Donelle Hadley August 14, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Thank you two for this. As a "liver" with a bipolar spectrum disorder and GAD, and a Christian I can say that faith and professional/medical help can work together and are not opposed to one another. I am a huge advocate of CBT. Also I have been kind of beating myself up for over-reading the Psalms and not so much the words of Jesus so what you have said has affirmed me as to why I am so drawn to them. ( I say liver rather than sufferer. There is probably a better word for that. ?)

  • Reply Amy Wiggans September 13, 2016 at 5:56 am

    One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Isreal, thy Saviour

  • Reply Vanesa Hart October 17, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I want to kill myself

  • Reply Robert Mugar April 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    This was very helpful.  My daughter suffers from a mental health disorder.  It is very difficult.  She currently lives with my wife and I and a lot of what you said is so true.  Like I can't take what she says or even what she does not say personally.  You are so right that we must have a strong relationship with God to get through a day or an hour or even a minute.  Please keep us in prayer.

  • Reply Australian Institute of Family Counselling April 29, 2018 at 1:43 am

    Holistic self care is important to all of us because we are a 3 fold being made of Mind (Soul), Body & Spirit. We can't neglect our health in any of those aspects which includes taking care of our mental health.

  • Reply Gasandguns May 19, 2018 at 3:55 am

    Thanks Rick for addressing this matter. It’s really no different to suffer from a kidney disease or from a brain disorder. God loves us all and does not discriminate from how we are treated. It’s okay to take meds for your brain just like it’s okay to take meds for your heart. God bless you.

  • Reply Ysabella Ante July 5, 2018 at 8:06 am

    This video has helped me understand and manage my social anxiety disorder. Thank you for this! 🙂

  • Reply Jason Brown October 10, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    i have schizoaffective bipolar disorder life is so hard everyday a battle

  • Reply Daniel Elam November 12, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for making this video.

  • Reply Everett Anthony Beeman December 16, 2018 at 5:11 am

    I wish he didn't say he was a pastor.

  • Reply A.S. Minor January 10, 2019 at 8:42 am

    I am an avid #MentalHealthAwareness advocate and performer, and I love this so much. I travel the country trying to bring that awareness on stages, in classrooms, hospitals, and on my YouTube channel, so I get excited when I see other advocates. ?❤

  • Reply Child Of GOD February 22, 2019 at 1:19 am

    Here is the cure ?

  • Reply brian lupinsky April 6, 2019 at 12:29 am

    you don't need big pharma drugs mental health is case by sin you need to pure your soul big pharma helps no one i took them drugs they just made life misble kept me from geting good jobs and the meds gave A-fib heart beat big pharma drugs rulened my life f—-k big phrama.

  • Reply Diana Maria Navarro - Botero May 12, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    Neurofeedback it’s a treatment that it will help. UCF university it’s give neurofeedback treatment to students and military with PDSD for free

  • Reply Celebrate Music May 25, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I know you guys mean well, but this video didn't help me. I love CR, but biological treatment with drugs didn't help. Information from Mindfreedom was more helpful when it came to alternative treatment. No of fence, David. A 30 year mental health consumer. My church, or CR doesn't agree either. I don't take it personally.

  • Reply Sin Young Park June 15, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you for this great message! There is no shame in being ill because being ill is NOT a sin!

  • Reply Carol Brock July 13, 2019 at 3:53 am

    I too hear voices in my ears and thoughts that are not mine. But I learned in the Christian Holy Bible that there is an invisible war on Earth involving evil demonic spirits/ fallen angels who can speak into our ears all manner of thoughts, tempt us to sin against our God, give us horrible dreams, cast voodoo like spells of torture on us, try to keep us from our relationship with our God, lead us to false religions and beliefs, and try to destroy us!!!! But, if you are a born again child of God, then God has given us the full armor of God, and it is our responsibility to put it on so we can take it up at any moment we need it. Please see Ephesians 6: 10–20. Also please listen to my story on YouTube at Hearing Voices: Real Help and Understanding
    I'm praying for you and soooo many people who are suffering spiritual warfare and oppression. With compassion, Carol
    Also see Chip Ingram the Invisible war series, John MacArthur standing strong in spiritual warfare, Neil T. Anderson spiritual warfare

  • Reply Vicki Bee July 18, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    That's ALL they ever want, no thanks to BIG PHARMACEUTICAL CROOKS.
    I'll probably DIE because of Big Pharma crooks. Nobody's going to give ME an "experimental cancer drug." They go with what's cheapest and if it doesn't help then I guess you drop dead,.
    "America first" MYASS. They should call it what it REALLY is. MONEY & CORPORATE first. Everyone else can drop dead, including my loved one, who died for their Greed, even though he was NEVER like that. Eric Bennett, 10/17/71-9/11/01
    The murderers claim greed is why they did it, and no I don't believe greed should be answerable to the death sentence, but Eric was the OPPOSITE of that and died by the violence that only humans visit upon their own species anyway. I don't see why they couldn't change at least some of their ways.

  • Reply Vicki Bee July 24, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    I do wonder how he knows that some pastors think it's a "sin" to take medicine. I knew one who said so.
    I've never figured out why they think it. My whole adult life I've worked in Emergency Medicine as a EMT/Paramedic and first responders. In some cases, it's a death sentence to not give medicine to the patient. I work in ACLS, ALS and cardiac care: ACLS is Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

  • Reply Yami Le August 17, 2019 at 6:35 am


  • Reply Berkies Sepulveda October 7, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    I thank Jesus for my doctor and my medications. I am in recovery. I do a lot of meditations. I don’t go to church anymore because of the stigma. I was spiritually abused. I love Jesus with all my heart. I don’t trust in any pastor. I don’t fit in in any church. I’m happy having church at home. Thank you for sharing. God bless you richly.

  • Reply Baljit Singh October 8, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    Young children should engage themself in scheduled productive work such as study every day to avoid emotions that come with a growing-up. Engagement in a routine productive work shall overcome thinking processes that lead us into emotions; parents should look into; it applies to all (all age-groups). Chase only the productive work; rather watching YouTubes. Cultivate, create and construct are pillars of growth and overcome sadness. Write poems but good poems away from chasing emotions and revenge to overcome anxiety; we all are individuals, but someone can guide us; teachers, friends and parents have a daily role to play-in. Do not drink, do not smoke, do not gamble and do not roam around. Saturations lead to slump; be in the middle situation. Religious places are good places to be in

    Dr Baljit Singh Wednesday 9 October 2019.

  • Reply Valerie K October 9, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Don't take benzodiazepines…the end. Deliverance

  • Reply Eva R Brown October 11, 2019 at 11:09 am

    I am hurting and my pain has me trusting GOD cause I can't handle it.

  • Reply Alexis Gonzalez October 14, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Is mental ilness related too demonic possession

  • Reply Bramson Inspiration November 1, 2019 at 6:44 am

    Very Good Perspective

  • Reply Thx 4 Clearing that up November 13, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    This is pretty obvious advice to me.

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