How God is using Michelle Williams’ mental health struggle to help others

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Article By Rebecca Johnson // EEW Magazine // Mental Health

God turns our pain into purpose and Gospel singer and Broadway star Michelle Williams is a living example of that truth.

The “Say Yes” singer has said yes to the calling of taking the stigma off of mental illness, a huge necessity among Christian women of color.

She is leading the way for others who have felt ashamed and alone in their struggle.

When Williams, 38, posted a July 17 social media statement saying she was seeking professional treatment for her depression, the story went viral. It also opened up a much-needed dialogue about women of faith and mental health—particularly in the black church.

“For years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognize when it’s time to seek help, support and guidance from those that love and care for your well-being,” she wrote in her statement.

“I recently listened to the same advice I have given to thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals," she added.

By virtue of Williams’ willingness to be open and transparent, the owner of Believe, an exclusive line of home goods and bedding, who is engaged to be married to Pastor Chad Johnson, is giving countless other women permission to do the same.

In that way, her misery has become her ministry.

 Michelle Williams and Chad Johnson (Photo Credit: Instagram)

Michelle Williams and Chad Johnson (Photo Credit: Instagram)

Mental health struggles, particularly in the black church, are often viewed primarily through two lenses: weakness or demons. But New Creation Treatment, a California-based Christian addiction and mental health rehab organization, is de-stigmatizing depression and other mental health issues. Their specialists stress that depression has nothing to do with being “weak,” but rather, is a “medical issue.”

In a July 20 social media post, Williams, who first revealed her depression fight in 2013, confirmed to her  fans that she was “better.”

Once upon a time, however, at her worst, Williams said during an appearance of the daytime talker, "The Talk," that she was suicidal. During that same appearance she also expressed her desire to "normalize this discussion" surrounding mental illness.

Williams is not the only high-profile woman of faith and color openly battling depression. Grammy® Award-winning singer Tasha Cobbs has also been vocal about her personal struggles, too. The “Break Every Chain” singer says she received therapy treatment which is ongoing.

As popular women of faith and color publicize their mental health challenges, millions of anonymous women in the church pews, barely making it out of bed and faking a smile to hide the tears, just may follow suit.

Williams, whose battle began somewhere between the ages of 13-15, showcases the fact that you can receive Jesus into your heart and receive professional help for mental illness at the same time.

The two are not contradictory.