Alumna Jessica Coblentz Gives Lecture on Mother Teresa & Mental Health Stigma
On Tuesday, October 20, SCU Religious Studies alumna Dr. Jessica Coblent '08 offered a lecture at the University of Portland's Garaventa Center. Entitled "Mother Teresa: A Case Study in Christian Mental Health Stigma," the lecture explored Mother Teresa's legacy through the lens of studies of depression and mental health. Drawing on the reception of Mother Teresa's diaries and the notion of the "dark night of the soul," Coblentz discussed the feeling of intense sadness and alienation from God often expressed in Teresa's writings and the lives of the saints. Then, drawing on psychological research and narratives of depression, Coblentz analyzed the assumptions about mental health and Christian holiness that guide widespread Catholic statements that Mother Teresa was not "depressed." This analysis provided a basis for a broader discussion of theology and mental health, which included discussions of Christianity's contributions to mental health stigma and possibilities for counteracting that stigma in church and society. You can watch her talk here and view the handouts she prepared for it.