The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby admits he suffers from “the black dog” or depression episodes, so he takes antidepressants, and he always carries an inhaler. He takes his antidepressant every morning to ensure he’ll be mentally and emotionally stable for the day.
Today is International Migrants Day. To mark Refugee Week this year,… the Cathedral hosted Am I My Brother’s Keeper?, an installation created from a UNHCR tent used in refugee camp in Jordan by artist Kate Daudy. The crochet elements of the tent were made by internally displaced women in Syria, providing revenue for them and for their families.
Before the mental health conference last October 21 entitled “Faith and Mental Health: A Christian Response”, he stated, “Last year, I realized I was depressed. I have a daughter who has been very open about her experiences of depression, and she helped me see that it wasn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s just life — and I got help.”
Justin has six kids with his wife, Caroline. Their daughter Johanna was just seven months when she died in a vehicular accident in France. Their other daughters have medical issues too; Katharine, 25, had mental health problems. Ellie, 33, has experienced learning disabilities.
Like Katharine, the archbishop doesn’t want people to pray for him sometimes. He admitted, “I’ve had times when people have said, ‘Could we pray for you?’ And if I weren’t the archbishop, I’d have said, ‘I’d prefer that you didn’t,’ but I feel that I can’t always say that.”
The archbishop told BBC that he hadn’t prayed as much for Ellie like what he did for Katharine. He always prays for the mental health of Katharine every day.
Ellie suffers from dyspraxia, so she has poor coordination, and some people thought she’s clumsy because of it. He talked about Ellie to BBC; “Your younger sister said, ‘If God changed Ellie, she wouldn’t be Ellie, and we love Ellie.’ So there’s that thing that Ellie’s Ellie, she’s precious.”
Ellie trusts the Lord even if she has struggles. She said, “I have felt a bit like, well, if God heals, why am I still dyspraxic? Why do I still find it difficult to do things? But at the same time, it doesn’t change the way I trust God.”
The archbishop said the church should address mental health more seriously. He expressed, “I’m thinking of people in my current diocese and my previous diocese — outstanding people, who found that they had mental ill-health, and the church was flummoxed by it, and has a long history, with the rest of society, of not knowing how to deal with it. There have been moments where it’s been a huge test,” he says. “You read the Bible, and life’s not simple,” he said.