4 People in the Bible Who Struggled with Mental Health

5 Mins read

John 10:10 (NIV)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

These words of Christ can be applied to various parts of our lives. While Jesus was talking about the abundant life associated with walking away from sin and into His glorious light, the idea of living life “to the full” is easily applicable to other areas, including our own mental health.

You’ve probably heard a lot about the mental health crisis plaguing our society. While it’s become a major topic in our modern world, mental health is not a new topic at all. Thankfully, we live in a society that is (albeit slowly) destigmatizing mental illness. Additionally, we are incredibly blessed with men, women, and medical advances that are providing people with the help that they need.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, there is nothing shameful about seeking professional help. Remember, God has blessed us with those resources. However, we can also look to Scripture to find four examples of Godly people who dealt with similar issues.

Today, find out more about people in the Bible who dealt with the same mental health problems that we’re facing today. While each story is unique, God’s goodness in the face of mental illness remains the same.

Martha Dealt with Anxiety
Luke 10:41-42 (NIV)
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was so overcome by anxiety that she didn’t even realize the power of the moment. Jesus was sitting in her home teaching, but while her sister was sitting at His feet listening, Martha was overcome with anxiety. Whether you deal with occasional anxiety or you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, you likely know how Martha felt.

Martha was worried about everything being perfect in the home. After all, Christ was there! In her mind, the meal needed to be perfect, the house needed to be spotless, and everything needed to go according to her plans. Finally, she got so frustrated by her sister’s lack of help that she went to Jesus and told Him to do something about it.

Anxiety often causes us to miss out on what God is doing because we’re so overwhelmed with fear about what might happen. What would Jesus and the disciples say if Martha served a bad dinner? What would Jesus talk about when He left if the house was dirty? Martha was blind to the moment because of her anxiety.

While Jesus didn’t agree with Martha’s behavior, He didn’t rebuke her. Instead, He simply pointed out that she was focused on the wrong things. Anxiety causes us to focus so much on the fear of what might happen that we miss out on what’s happening. Christ was looking for people who wanted to listen to His words, and Mary was doing that. Martha quickly remembered what was really important and embraced the power of the moment.

Solomon Battled Addiction
1 Kings 11:1-2 (NIV)
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter-Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from the nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.

When we hear the term “addiction,” we typically think about drugs or alcohol. However, there are plenty of other types of addiction, and Solomon dealt with one of the most common. Anything that you cannot control is an addiction. While drug and alcohol addiction is common, people are often addicted to sex, work, social media, or any other number of things.

God had told Israel not to marry women from these other nations because they had their own gods. Solomon had a wife, but he could not stop himself from pursuing more women. In fact, 1 Kings 11:3 teaches us that Solomon wound up with 700 wives and 300 concubines. That means that Solomon was having sexual relations with 1,000 women! If anyone in the Bible suffered from addiction, it was Solomon.

Solomon quickly found himself building altars to the false gods of his female companions. However, God didn’t give up on Solomon and continued to use him to carry out God’s divine purpose. If you’re battling addiction, get help. Also, take heart in the fact that you are not alone.

Elijah Struggled with Depression
1 Kings 19:3-4 (NIV)
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

After Elijah had killed 400 false prophets, Bathsheba, the wicked queen vowed that she would kill him within the next 24 hours. Instead of getting to enjoy his victory, Elijah slipped into a dark depression. He left his servant in another city, ran into the wilderness, and begged God to take his life.

When Solomon found himself alone, he gave up. His servant was his only friend, and he had left him behind for the young man’s own safety. There is no doubt that Elijah’s plea for death was a sign of depression. While there was no clinical diagnosis in Biblical times, Elijah’s thoughts and words tell us that he was depressed.

God sent an angel to encourage Elijah. In our struggles with depression, we have an Encourager. After a conversation with the angel, Elijah got up, dusted himself off, and resumed his ministry. Today, don’t let your depression make you believe that you’re alone. Get up and keep moving!

Naomi Faced Incredible Grief
Ruth 1:8 (NIV)
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me.”

Naomi, an often forgotten hero of the Bible, faced incredible grief. Her husband’s death had already changed her life significantly. Soon after his passing, both of her sons died. A woman in the Bible who had no husband, and no sons would have faced uncertainty. While she could hope that a male relative of her husband would bring her into his family, that was no guarantee.

In an effort to salvage the future of her daughters-in-law, she tried to send them away. While one of them took her up on her offer, Ruth refused to leave Naomi. She stood by her, committing her life to Naomi’s people and her God.

Had Ruth accepted Naomi’s offer to return home to her family, Naomi would have isolated herself. Grief will make us do that. Thankfully, there are people who want to rally around you when you’re dealing with grief. God did incredible things in Ruth’s life, and in turn, in Naomi’s life. When you remain connected to other believers, grief becomes much more manageable.

A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank You for providing insight into how to deal with mental health issues in Your Word. Thank You for seeing into the future and knowing our need for these stories. Please, bless all of those who are struggling with various types of mental issues today. Encourage them and send them the support that they need. Give them the courage to get help. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Explore Games and Apps



Get a daily email of trending scripture and updates. Be the first to see top stories and events.