Rick Warren on Mental Illness: 'If My Brain Doesn't Work and I Take a Pill, I'm Supposed to Be Ashamed?'

Pastor Rick Warren co-hosts a historic conference on mental health and the church, March, 29, 2014.
Pastor Rick Warren co-hosts a historic conference on mental health and the church, March, 29, 2014. | (Photo: Saddleback PiCS)

Rick Warren and his wife Kay appeared on the View last week where they discussed various issues such as marriage and the recent suicide of their son Matthew as it relates to mental illness.

Warren touched on the stigma sometimes attached to those who struggle with mental disorders and how medical treatment of those conditions could be frowned upon by certain people.

"The problem [with Matthew was], if your mind doesn't work, it doesn't work," said Warren to the hosts of the View. "We're trying to remove the stigma with [mental illness]."

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"If my heart isn't working, and I take a pill, nobody thinks anything of it. [Same with the liver]. But if my brain doesn't work right and I take a pill, I'm supposed to be ashamed of that? What's wrong with that?" the Saddleback Church pastor continued.

Warren believes that a person suffering from mental illness should not find their identity in it.

The couple's son Matthew Warren suffered from clinical depression and borderline personality disorder starting at the age of 7. After years of struggling with these issues, Matthew took his own life on April 5, 2013. He was 27.

"If your love could keep Matthew alive he'd be alive today," said Warren. "He was the most loved, he had a strong stable family, all of the things you think would help a kid make it in life, he had it all."

Warren also addressed Christians who believe mental problems are related to a lack of faith.

"If a bird has a broken wing, you could say just believe you could fly, but it isn't going to fly," he said. "If your neurons aren't working right, then you go get help, and actually mental, physical spiritual and relational illness often all go together. You got to [work on] all four."

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