An estimated 21 million Americans experience some form of depression every year. It is an emotionally, physically, and spiritually depleting disease that can lead to suicide.

Robin WilliamsWe are still reeling from the news of the suicide of Robin Williams who valiantly struggled with depression for many years. Our hearts go out to his wife, children, and other loved ones. We and millions of other fans grieve the loss of this immensely talented actor and extraordinary comedian. He left many legacies, contributed to raising awareness of many issues through the roles he took on and the charities he supported. And today, we see that by his suicide, he has raised awareness of the suffering caused by depression.

And so we pray this news . . .

Compassionate Healer, we acknowledge that depression is a serious mental illness. As the narrator in Barbara Kingsolver's novel The Bean Trees says:

"There is no point in treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, There now, hang on, you'll get over it. Sadness is more or less a head cold – with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer."

Today we pray for all those whose lives are drained, damaged, and debilitated by depression. May they persevere in their treatment regimen and carry hope in their hearts for a better and brighter tomorrow.

We pray that their family, friends, and neighbors will be able to empathize with their struggle, emotional pain, stress, and paranoia. May we encourage and support them in their healing efforts.

We give thanks for the strides being made in treatment programs and medication options. We appreciate the work of all the caring and brave souls who compassionately serve those afflicted with mental illness. Help us to do what we can to support those with depression.

Next Post: A Prayer for Victims of Religious Hostility