Episode 12: Why We Need to Talk about the Shame of Mental Illness

Episode 12: Why We Need to Talk about the Shame of Mental Illness

Episode Description:
Why We Need to Talk about the Shame of Mental Illness discusses whether or not we should share our mental health conditions and struggles with others, and if so, whom. This episode also discusses the differences between shame and guilt, how trauma is connected to shame and mental illness, and how people cover up and deny shame. We then discuss why you need to tell yourself the shame you feel is not your fault.

Jesus' finished work on the cross defeated shame once and for all. As a result, knowing who you are in Christ heals shame. Speaking about shame with those that we trust, can also heal it. There are solutions to heal shame, if we as a culture can openly address the shame and stigma mental illness.

Breakdown of Episode: 
0:00 Intro to the Topic
6:32 Why We Need to Talk About the Shame Around Mental Illness
8:40 The Difference Between Shame and Guilt
14:35 How is Shame Connected to Trauma, Mental Illness, and Suicide, and Why People Cover up and Deny Shame
25:52 Why the Shame You Feel Is Not Your Fault
27:46 How Jesus' Finished Work Heals Your Shame Forever
22:39 How You Can Start to Heal Yourself
33:22 What Does the Presence of Jesus Mean for Shame?
37:57 Vulnerability and Compassion as Keys to Heal Shame
40:05 Solutions to Heal Shame
58:40 What We as a Culture Need to do About the Shame of Mental Illness

 Bulleted List of Resources

  • "Dealing with Shame When You Have BPD" by Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault 


This article addresses those who have borderline personality disorder, but the differences between shame and guilt given can help anyone who struggles with mental health issues. Shame is debilitation, whereas guilt is a tool that helps us to course correct. 

  • "Suicide and Shame," The General Psychologist, John C. Minahan


This article discusses shame that is associated with suicide and suicide ideation, and how we need to address the root causes of suicide and suicide itself differently. Minahan discusses great people in history that suffered from depression and suicide ideation, but they did not go through with it. It discusses how these individuals found ways to cope with their shame and transmute their emotions through healing practices and their art and work, instead of denying their emotions.

  • Brene Brown TED Talk "Listening to Shame"

Listening to shame | Brené Brown

Brene Brown is an engaging speaker with years of experience researching shame and vulnerability. She discusses what shame is, where it comes from, and how it manifests, and what we can do to heal our shame.

  • Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk


Extending on the Minahan article, this book discusses how Lincoln's will to live and never give up, despite deep depression, allowed him to become the man he was destined to be and change the world. It shows what someone--even with deep depression and shame-- can accomplish with grit and determination.