Ever wonder where God could be in the mental health conversation? We discuss mental illness in the light of the gospel to draw ourselves and listeners closer to God. Find our podcasts on any major podcast platform every Tuesday or check out the YouTube links below!
Your Hosts: Steph Eckert and Laura McDougall.
Episode 0: Before We Get Started (Bonus Episode)
June 1st, 2021 Length: 22:19
Welcome to the Brighter Podcast! In today’s episode, co-hosts Steph and Laura share about their own personal journeys through mental illness, and why they started the Brighter Podcast ministry. They also discuss what you can look forward to from the podcast, and where they will be drawing most of their understanding from.
Includes: Personal introductions, Steph’s story, Laura’s story.
1:45 – About the podcasts beginning
3:00 – Introducing ourselves
15:00 – The why behind the podcast
16:00 – What we’re hoping to do through this podcast
Episode 01: The Gospel & Mental Health…Impossible Combo?
June 1st, 2021 Length: 26:56
In today’s episode, co-hosts Steph and Laura share in-depth descriptions of basic terms (like the gospel and mental health/mental illness), how they can be framed in an understanding of the reality of God, and why it’s the most important framework for living a rich, joy-filled life in the midst of any struggle. They answer questions like: is God punishing me by giving me depression?
Includes: Definition of mental health & mental illness, definition of the gospel, scriptures such as Genesis 1, Philippians 1:5-7, Matthew 11:28-30, and Psalm 34:17-22.
3:00 – Defining mental health
6:00 – Defining the gospel
13:00 – Putting mental health & the gospel together
18:40 – Hope & joy in Jesus despite afflictions
25:00 – God is close to the broken hearted
Ep. 02: Spirit, Soul, Body (Holistic Approach) & The Tabernacle
June 8th, 2021 Length: 32:20
In today’s episode, co-hosts Steph and Laura dive into how God made His people, and how that matters for our journey in mental health. Does mental illness occur only in your brain, biologically? If someone is mentally ill, does it mean they’re possessed? Or do they just have a lot of emotional baggage? The answers can be found in the Bible, especially when we take a closer look at an Old Testament building called the Tabernacle…
Includes: How we’re saved in all aspects of our being, our spirit, soul and body; the relevancy of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25-31, 35-40) and scriptures such as Mark 5:1-20, Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 24:6.
5:00 – Tabernacle as a picture for our being
7:20 – Explaining what we’re compiled of: spirit, soul, body
8:40 – How we’re saved in our soul (sanctification)
10:50 – How we’re saved in our body (glorification)
11:20 – How we’re saved in our spirit (justification)
11:50 – Mental health in this framework
13:30 – Is mental illness only in the brain?
17:15 – Is mental illness just emotional baggage?
18:10 – Wise counsel and importance of professional counselling
22:20 – Is mental illness demon possession?
29:00 – Our hope is in God, who has the answers
Ep. 03: Mental Illness, Taking Charge of Our Wellbeing, and God’s Perfecting Love
June 15, 2021 Length 25:00
In today’s episode, co-hosts Steph and Laura define the differences between mental health and mental illness, and if it’s a person’s fault if they’re depressed or anxious. They use the comparison of common physical issues (like a stomach ache) to help illustrate what experiencing mental illness may look like or begin as.
Includes: How mental illnesses are diagnosed, how we can take ownership of our mental health by taking our thoughts captive and scriptures including Ephesians 4:21-24, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and Philippians 4:8. Dr. Caroline Leaf is mentioned in this episode. You can find her and her work on the mind-brain connection at www.drleaf.com.
2:00 – Difference between mental health and mental illness
4:50 – Stomach ache analogy to help explain the difference
10:40 – How mental illnesses are diagnosed
15:00 – Taking ownership of our mental health
18:50 – Taking our thoughts captive
Ep. 04: Time to Get Help? When, How, and All the Reasons Holding You Back From Getting Help
June 22, 2021 Length 27:22
In today’s episode, Steph and Laura share from personal and professional experience on how to know when it’s time for help, and the wide variety of options we each have when finding support. They also discuss reasons why someone may resist various forms of help, including pride, fear, and misunderstanding. If you’ve ever wondered what’s waiting for you on the other side of a first-time call to your doctor, a counsellor, or friend to tell them you aren’t O-K, this is a good place to start.
If you’re listening today because you think it may be time for yourself or someone you know to reach out for help, we want you to know that God is with you. We pray over you directly in today’s episode, and share some encouragement right out of the gate for those of you in the trenches.
Includes: Being honest about when we need more help, signs and steps for getting help, and addressing fear and pride directly. Turning our hope to God when the process isn’t perfect, and sharing scriptures1 Peter 1:13, Romans 15:13, Hebrews 11:1, Romans 5:5, Micah 7:7.
2:00 – Encouragement if you’re in a difficult place
3:20 – When to get help
4:10 – Warning signs we need help
7:30 – Ways getting help can look
10:10 – When pride gets in the way of getting help
14:50 – Other reasons someone might resist getting help
16:15 – Our hope is not in the process, it’s in God
20:00 – Being involved in your care
23:00 – Related and encouraging scripture
25:15 – Praying for our listeners
London Area Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
Reach Out – London Area – CMHA
Options for texting, web chat or phone crisis services
Mind Beacon Free Digital Therapy Resource for Ontarians
Ep. 05: Is Mental Illness a Fad?
June 29, 2021 Length 27:26
In today’s episode, co-hosts Steph and Laura address a listener’s prompting question: is it just a fad to have a mental illness in today’s society? They take a broad look at the history of Western culture and medical treatment towards mental illness, and how it’s changed. When we consider the current moment in culture in the context of history and the gospel, it’s easier to understand: culture’s source of hope is always moving, but with God we have an everlasting and never-changing source of hope– Jesus’s redemption for us.
Includes: Western mental health history, burning witches at the stake, diagnostic standards used today, the DSM-V, our need for attention, the ever-changing standards of culture, the benefits of our current culture’s approach. Scriptures mentioned: 1 Corinthians 13:12 , James 1:5, Lamentations 3:40.
2:30 – History of mental health treatment
10:00 – Treatment can never be perfect
13:30 – What we’re seeing in today’s culture
15:50 – Our innate need for attention
20:05 – Our afflictions become light when we look to Jesus
25:40 – Scripture to help us keep our eyes on Jesus
Ep. 06: Supporting Those Who Struggle (Helpful Ideas You Might Not Have Heard)
July 6, 2021 Length 28:10
In today’s episode, co-hosts Steph and Laura discuss ways to be an effective support person to someone who may be experiencing a mental health challenge or mental illness. They share practical tips, like paying attention to tone of voice and when to give advice. They also focus on the importance of boundaries and understanding that it’s not our job to fix people’s problems. We can encourage and come alongside them– but ultimately, everything we do needs to point to our saviour Jesus (not US!).
Includes: Importance of boundaries, why preaching at someone isn’t effective, when to seek immediate help, and scriptures including John 11:33-35, Romans 12:15, John 14:16.
1:30 – Ways we’re support people
6:00 – Knowing your place as a support person
7:30 – Jesus as our support person
9:40 – Tone, empathy and active listening
14:00 – Supporting the individual’s support system
18:45 – Importance of boundaries
20:00 – Why NOT to preach at people
22:00 – When to seek outside or immediate help
24:20 – Turning to scripture for guidance
26:40 – Instagram event for July 6th
London Crisis Centre – Great alternative to the emergency department
Ep. 07: Practical Tips for Depression
July 13, 2021 Length 25:43
In this episode, co-hosts Steph and Laura share practical tips for getting through the most difficult days when experiencing a depressive episode. Together they share personal examples of when they’ve used these tips. When we decide to accept where we’re at on these days and remember that God is WITH us, it helps to lift some of the heaviness we’ve placed on ourselves.
One specific topic we did NOT cover in today’s episode is how to navigate working situations when depressed. We are planning to release an episode on mental health and work. Join us on Instagram today for more practical tips from the community, plus some encouraging phone backgrounds to save and use as another way to lift your eyes during the darkest times.
Includes: personal experiences of depression, mothering during an episode, how to challenge negative self-talk, and God’s intention for His relationship with us.
3:20 – Sharing an overview of our own depressive episodes
8:30 – Accepting where we’re at when we’re feeling low
10:30 – Long term goal of challenging our inner beliefs
12:00 – Practical tips to help you today
21:00 – Being thankful to avoid ruminating
23:00 – Remembering God’s desire for us to be in a relationship with him
BONUS EPISODE: Depression Audio Guide
July 13, 2021 Length 10:22
In this bonus episode Laura and Steph share scriptures, songs, poems, and prayers to uplift our minds in the midst of depression. This is a ten minute episode designed to bring hope to your darkest hours. Listen to it as a meditation, as you drive, or as you go about your day to affirm grace and peace from God in your heart. We pray that wherever you’re at, this helps to draw you closer to God and remind you that you will get to the other side of this. Below is a transcript of the episode, including all the scriptures referenced. You can also download a free printable below that includes a full page of scripture, plus three designed encouragements for cutting out and putting on your fridge, mirror, or wherever you need to see them.
Includes: Scriptures such as Psalm 63:1-3, Psalm 119:28, Psalm 143: 7-8, Psalm 27:2, and Matthew 11:28, examples of prayers when dealing with depression, songs such as What a Friend We Have in Jesus by Alan Jackson, A Better Resurrection by Christina Rossetti, and It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford.
Ep. 08: Part 1 – Conversation with Leonard Terry
July 20, 2021 Length 29:19
Today’s episode is a very special conversation with Open Door’s own Leonard Terry. Listen in as Steph and Laura ask Leonard about his personal journey of faith, how secular and church culture on mental illness have shifted over the decades, and the impacts of shame-based faith. You can look forward to part two releasing next week, where we discuss even more personal stories of victory, grief, and salvation. Even as Leonard continues his journey of faith into his 70’s, he has managed to stay relevant, insightful, and loving on an ever-shifting conversation of mental health. You do not want to miss this or next week’s episode!
Includes: Suicide, psychedelics, vulnerability, men having feelings and vulnerability, psychosis, shame-based faith, secular and church culture.
3:00 – Quick overview of Leonard’s life
6:00 – Leonard’s personal experience with mental health and testimony of receiving salvation
10:00 – Mental health and illness stigma in the 1970s
12:30 – Watching the mental health shift in culture
14:50 – The gap between the world view and church view of mental illness
16:50 – The danger in shame based faith: hideness
21:00 – The risk of teaching about healing incorrectly
26:00 – God is with us right where we are, healing or not
Ep. 09: Part 2 – Conversation with Leonard Terry
July 27, 2021 Length 36:58
Today’s episode is part two of a conversation we had with Leonard Terry, where we continue the discussion on mental health and the church. Leonard shares insights on what the church has to offer people that can’t be found anywhere else, as well as personal stories of salvation and what it means to actually love someone affected by mental illness. We were all brought to tears during this conversation, and we believe that these words and discussions will have power to liberate you on your journey, wherever you are at.
Today’s episode will also conclude Season One at the Brighter Podcast. You can look forward to a Season One Recap episode next week, where we’ll share our reflections from the past months of recording, why we’re taking a break, and when you can expect to hear Season Two.
Includes: Church culture and privilege, 1 Timothy 2:17, spiritual forces, when the bible feels like an obstacle, experiencing fatherlessness, and sharing the gospel through actions.
2:00 – Three things the church has to offer:
2:00 – God’s design for us to live in community
4:00 – Opening our hearts in worship can help elevate our mental health
6:50 – The Word of God can help us overcome
9:20 – When the bible doesn’t feel like the source of hope people say it is
15:00 – Leonard’s understanding and view of the church as a child
19:00 – Showing God’s love to people who don’t fit the Christian mold
22:55 – Testimonies of Leonard walking out God’s steadfast love
Ep. 10: Recap of the Season
August 3, 2021 Length 32:37
In this episode, Steph and Laura reflect on the first season of the Brighter Podcast, share some laughs, and chat through what their hopes are for the next season. Even in this casual conversation, Steph and Laura remind listeners that they are not alone in their struggles and that God has designed us to be in relationship with him.
Includes: Ways to share the podcast, thoughts on the next season, Owen Wilson, the intended purpose of the podcast: resource of encouragement
2:15 – Reflecting on recording the season
4:00 – Update on Season Two
6:00 – Encouraging listeners to share the podcast
9:00 – You’re not alone
9:55 – Recapping on the main topics
14:30 – Episode ideas for Season Two
19:00 – Clips from our conversation with Leonard Terry
24:00 – Owen Wilson’s “wow”
25:30 – How to get involved
Ep. 11: Children’s Mental Health, What’s Normal, How Parents Can Walk Through It: Part 1 with Becky Mathieu
October 5, 2021 Length: 33:09
In today’s episode, we kick off Season Two of the Brighter Podcast with special guest Becky Mathieu. She is a Child and Youth Worker, Registered Psychotherapist, and after-hours on call chaplain. In part one of our conversation with Becky, we go over some of the most common issues that children face in mental health, as well as what’s “normal”, and the worries and fears parents go through.
Includes: Common children’s mental health issues and what behaviours to look out for
“Kids do well if they CAN, not if they want to” – Dr. Ross Greene
Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley
3:40 – Becky Mathieu’s introduction
6:00 -Common mental health issues among children
7:50 – Every behaviour has a function
16:00 -Range of normal; symptoms don’t always mean a diagnosis, consult with your doctor
21:00 – Developmental delay versus developmental disability
26:40 – Fear of getting a diagnosis and the peace of the gospel
31:35 – God created Holland; moving forward in the face of fear
Ep. 12: Finding Relief in a Diagnosis and How God’s Word Equips Us for Dealing with Mental Health Struggles: Part 2 with Becky Mathieu
October 19, 2021 Length: 33:58
Today’s episode is part two of our conversation with Becky Mathieu where we’re continuing to discuss children’s mental health. We talk about the relief that comes with receiving the correct diagnosis, while also mentioning the risks in ignoring concerns. In this episode we return back to the gospel; remembering that despite the consequences of the fall God is still sovereign and has a plan for each child.
Includes: Peace despite diagnosis, broken pelvis, the one stone left unturned, the can’t versus won’t approach, thankfulness
Scriptures included: Jeremiah 29:11, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Proverbs 4:23, Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:8-9, Isaiah 26:3
Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley https://www.dsasc.ca/uploads/
-Merrymount – https://www.merrymount.on.ca/
-Thames Valley Children’s Centre – https://www.tvcc.on.ca/
-Vanier Children’s Services – https://www.vanier.com/
-Children and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) https://www.ontario.ca/page/
-Craigwood Children, Youth and Family Services – https://www.craigwood.ca/
1:50 – Moving forward in the face of fear
3:00 – Relief and peace that getting the correct diagnosis can have
7:00 – The risks in ignoring concerning behaviours or lacking skills
8:45 – Looking at our children’s needs through the truth of the gospel story
11:00 – The hope we can hold onto; God is here
15:00 – The can’t versus won’t approach
16:00 – Why we shouldn’t put our hope in treatment
18:15 – Remembering that we’re compiled of our spirit, soul and body
19:15 – God prepared us in His Word for mental health
23:10 – The importance of a balanced approach in addressing mental health concerns
26:00 – Having a thankful and steadfast heart on Christ
29:25 – Encouragement to seek out resources and ask for help
Ep. 13 Psychosis & Suicidality at 5 Weeks Postpartum: Part 1 of Steph’s Testimony
November 30, 2021 Length: 38:00
In today’s episode Steph shares her postpartum story after the birth of her second born. You’ll hear Laura and Steph discuss the common difficulties of the early postpartum phase including the differences between postpartum depression and the baby blues. In this first part of their conversation Steph goes into detail about how she went into crisis, the aftermath and the immediate support that followed. Stay tuned for next week’s episode to hear the second part of our conversation, where Steph shares more on God’s unmerited favour over her life!
Includes: sleeplessness, suicide, postpartum psychosis, wraparound support
2:00 – Why Steph decided to share
4:45 – The challenging first few weeks of postpartum
12:50 – Defining: postpartum, postpartum depression and baby blues
15:30 – Hitting the waves of denial
19:30 – When the future became black
23:10 – No longer alone
30:30 – Experiencing postpartum psychosis
34:45 – The difference having wraparound support made
Ep. 14 From Death to LIFE: Part 2 of Steph’s Postpartum Testimony
December 7, 2021 Length: 35:21
Today’s episode is the second part of Steph sharing her postpartum journey after her second born. In this part Steph shares how God helped reorder her perspective and thought life. This episode reminds us that we serve a redemptive God; he doesn’t hold back blessings from us based on our records. When we choose to fix our eyes on Jesus, the difficulties of this world don’t feel as heavy, for His burden is light!
Includes: the podcasts origin, visions, endometriosis, Aslan, unmerited favour
1:15 – Moving back home & finding stability as a family of 4
2:30 – When the idea of the podcast came to be
5:30 – God’s miraculous plan for more children
18:00 – Hearing God speak through visions and prophetic word
23:00 – They say medical marvels, we say miraculous pregnancies
26:00 – Preparing for another postpartum journey
28:45 – Reorienting our perspective to God’s sovereignty
31:00 – It takes a village
For more information, you can find us on Facebook and Instagram (@brighterpodcastministry). If you’re new, come follow us for encouragement, testimonies, and other bonus content to draw you nearer to God, wherever you may be on your journey.