David Murray

Professor, Pastor, Author

Resources on Depression

In this series of short videos, various pastors and counselors answer the most common questions people have about depression. You can view five feature-length documentaries about various Christians’ experience with depression here, and you can buy the book, Christians Get Depressed Too here.

What’s the difference between secular psychology and Christian counseling?

How does depression manifest itself in children?

How does depression manifest itself in teens?

Also, as I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I've compiled online lists of my top ten books in various categories (see here, for example). On the subject of depression, if I was only allowed 10 books in my library, these are the ten I would choose:

1. I’m Not Supposed to Feel Like This by Chris Williams (and others).

Accurately sub-titled “A Christian Self-Help Approach to Depression and Anxiety.” This was the most helpful book my wife and I used when she was going through a lengthy period of pregnancy-related depression. Especially good on teaching you how to do some basic CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy).

2. Dealing with Depression by Sarah Collins and Jayne Haynes.

Smallest book of the bunch but one of the best for a balanced introduction to depression.

3. A Practical Workbook for the Depressed Christian by Dr John Lockley.

Biggest of the bunch, but very readable and practical. Takes on the “Depression is always caused by sin” myth but also provides lots of practical advice. Totally disagree with pages 267-270.

4. Overcoming Spiritual Depression by Arie Elshout.

Very short and partly biographical book. Although it says “Spiritual Depression” in the title, unlike Lloyd-Jones’s book it covers a lot more than that with some fine practical chapters on sleep, nourishment, and self-esteem.

5. Depression: Looking Up From The Stubborn Darkness by Ed Welch.

A sympathetic and sensitive book, especially good on helping sufferers discern whether their depression has a spiritual cause and how to respond to that. Sometimes seems to revert to the “medicine only alleviates symptoms” dogma, but this is still a good book for a pastor or counselor to guide someone through.

6. D Is For Depression by Michael Lawson.

An accessible look at spiritual, psychological, and medical resources for healing depression. Looks at depression caused by burnout, painful memories, identity issues, discouragement, and suffering.

7. Spiritual Depression: Its Causes And Cure by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

Although this is an extremely good book for those whose depression has primarily spiritual causes, it’s not a book I would give to everyone suffering with depression as there are often other factors that may be far more significant.

8. Broken Minds by Steve and Robyn Bloem.

A harrowing biographical look at depression by a pastor and his wife. If you want to feel the pain of depression with being depressed, this is the closest you’ll get. Perhaps over-balanced into the “physical-only” approach, but gives a deep insight into the struggles of depression and what the church can do to help.

9. Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission by Amy Simpson.

Actually deals more with schizophrenia than depression, but so many of Amy’s points apply to how the church responds to depression as well. Amy weaves her own family’s painful sufferings throughout her challenges to the church to increase in compassion and care towards the suffering.

10. Christians Get Depressed Too: Hope and Help for The Depressed by David Murray.

Honorable Mentions

When The Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper. A sensitive and balanced book from “The Apostle of Joy” with solid and do-able biblical advice for those who struggle in the darkness (and those who care for them).

Grace for the Afflicted by Matthew Stanford. Comes from both a biblical and clinical perspective and deals with a much broader range of mental health issues than depression. A well-rounded perspective on the physical, spiritual, social, and providential contributors to depression.

A couple of booklets on depression. “Help, I’m depressed!” by Carol Trahan and Depression: The Sun Always Rises by Margaret Ashmore. Both useful brief introductions especially to the spiritual side of depression.

Slaying the Giant: Practical Help for Understanding, Preventing, and Overcoming Depression by French O’Shields
 

Engage further about these resources by visiting David Murray's website Head, Heart, Hand.

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About David Murray

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He blogs at HeadHeartHand . and you can follow him on Twitter @DavidPMurray .

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