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From taboo to legit: mental health

By July 20, 2015
(Photo credit: SleepDemon via Flickr)

(Photo credit: SleepDemon via Flickr)

India (MNN) — Depression and anxiety top India’s list of social ills, according to a recent study.

Less than 25% of people have access to the help they need because mental health remains a widely-held taboo.

Dr. Samson Gandhi is leading a movement to change that fact, in the name of Christ. With help from the Haggai Institute, Dr. Gandhi is revolutionizing perceptions of mental health in the Church.

Mental health in India

The Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) recently discovered that the children of South Asian emigrants hold similar views of mental health as their parents: depression isn’t real, and anxiety is a sign of weakness.

The rate of suicide among young South Asian American women is higher than the general U.S. population. In addition, South Asian American women are least likely to utilize mental health services, according to AHIAHF.

(Logo courtesy Person to Person)

(Logo courtesy Person to Person)

In 1997, Dr. Gandhi launched Person to Person (PtP), an institute for Christian counseling. Under Dr. Gandhi’s leadership, PtP trains biblical counselors in India and throughout the region.

According to a recent PtP study, most Indians (about 40%) seek their help for relationship issues. Another 40% of PtP clients seek counseling for anxiety and/or depression.

“About 20% [of the study’s cases] had to do with students,” Dr. Gandhi says.

“They were struggling with stress in their academics, trying to do their best in the examinations, handle competition and become successful, and make the grades–a whole lot of stress in that area.”

10% of the clientele are battling depression, and another 10% are corporate leaders employed in high-stress environments.

Each case is admittedly different, but some counsel remains the same: true and lasting peace can only be found in Jesus Christ.

This message and counsel has never changed for Dr. Gandhi or his employees. But, Dr. Gandhi says, training he received from the Haggai Institute helped him raise PtP to a new level.

Help from Haggai

Dr. Gandhi’s first lessons didn’t come from a formal training session.

“It was the people of Haggai Institute who impacted me in my life,” he says. They showed him how to grow and mature as a disciple of Christ and how to share the love of God with people.

A collage from one of Haggai's international training sessions.  (Photo courtesy Haggai)

A collage from one of Haggai’s international training sessions.
(Photo courtesy Haggai)

Eventually, Dr. Gandhi gained an opportunity to attend one of Haggai’s international training sessions.

“They took me out of a hole into a vast plain, to see what God was doing,” says the doctor.

“From there onwards, it was a journey of discovering God’s plans and purposes in my life and implementing some of the principles that I’ve learned.”

The Haggai Institute taught Dr. Gandhi goal-setting, stewardship, additional leadership skills, audio-visual techniques, and more.

“These were the topics that gave me the toolkit to become more and more effective in the ministry,” he shares.

You can help Haggai train more leaders like Dr. Gandhi here. Your contribution enables leaders to carry the life-saving message of Jesus Christ to the nations.

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