Christianity and Depression

Christianity
and Depression

Author Tasia Scrutton
Publisher SCM £19.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780334058908

This book is an erudite addition to the literature concerning Christianity and depression, the author being an Associate Professor in Philosophy and Religion at the University of Leeds. The foreword by John Swinton, with his references to ‘unconventional mental health experiences’, sets the tone for the main text which is concerned with the different interpretations of depression within the Christian faith and how these interpretations influence the experience of depression. The book also addresses the kinds of response, support and advice people should get about depression from churches. In the first two chapters, the author is at pains to dismantle explanations of depression which focus on sin and demons as causes. The biology of depression is dealt with in chapter 3, and notions of a suffering God form the material for chapters 6 and 7. The chapter that I most related to was chapter 5, entitled ‘Can depression help us grow?’, which examines the life, work and writings of the psychologist and Catholic priest Henri Nouwen. Each chapter concludes with comprehensive notes. This is recommended reading for anyone with an interest in this field, from whatever perspective.

MICHAEL FOSTER

Mental Health

 

A New Day

A New Day

Author Emma Scrivener
Publisher IVP £8.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781783594412

A New Day is Emma Scrivener’s second book dealing with anorexia, obsessive compulsive disorder, self-harm and other mental health issues, based on personal experience. She encourages Christians to face the uncomfortable truth: that our churches are full of hurting people and that coming to faith may still leave us struggling. In this ‘mess’, however, Jesus meets us and here the church is called to shine. Moving in stages from darkness through to light, Emma explores hunger, anxiety, control, shame, anger and despair, offering interesting scriptural insights and much practical information and advice: an invaluable reference for understanding this often-hidden area of need and concern. The book is easy to work through with many short sections, testimonies and questions to consider. It could be suitable for youth leaders to use with groups and individuals as the issues and style are particularly relevant for young people. For Emma’s personal battle with anorexia, see her previous book, A New Name or her blog.

APRIL McINTYRE

Mental Health, Lifestyle