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The Necessity of Mental Health Ministries

Pastors can help address this disconnect between need and appropriate care by preaching and speaking about mental illness with directness and compassion from the pulpit. As Megan Snell writes, “when I speak frankly about depression from the pulpit, breaking the silence of mental illness, people respond with tearful gratitude for having their own life experience finally spoken about from the place of spiritual authority in our worship spaces.”

Faith and Religion in Recovery

Over the past century we’ve seen myriad medications, therapy modules and self-help routines developed to battle the problem. Faith and spirituality remain among the most time-tested supplements in the world of addiction treatment and provide a core value for many rehab facilities and community support groups that yield success stories.

America’s Long-Suffering Mental Health System

A familiar scene plays out again and again in American public life in the 21st century. In the wake of the mass shooting such as the one in Parkland, FL, commentators, pundits, and politicians all gather around to talk about the country’s broken mental health system and suggest its connection to the violence.  In the article, America’s Long-Suffering Mental Health System, historian Zeb Larson traces how our response to mental illness has been shaped by a faith that such illness can be cured and a desire to deal with the mentally ill as cheaply as possible.  This is an excellent overview of how mental illness has been viewed and treated over time and where we are today.

Why Black Churches Need to Do Better with Mental Health Issues

Historically, mental health issues were deemed “a vice of the Devil,” and the solution was prayer and stronger faith. Unfortunately, remnants of this rhetoric are still echoed throughout churches today. While calling on someone to “hold fast to their faith” is not an issue, when it is presented as the only answer, it silences a lot of questions. Questions like, “What do you do when prayer and faith don’t seem like enough?” Too often when someone asks this question out loud, they are met with shame or reprimand. They are told they lack faith. This message, combined with the fixation on seeming invincible, causes many Black households to ignore or hide mental health issues. 

Creating Community Connections for Mental Health

Faith and community leaders can help educate individuals and families about mental health, increasing awareness of mental health issues and making it easier for people to seek help. Community connectedness and support, like that found in faith-based and other neighborhood organizations, are also important to the long-term recovery of people living with mental illnesses.

Friendship and People with Mental Illness

This article from Faith & Leadership (Duke University) shares how churches are the front line of encountering suffering in large portions of our culture and have the opportunity and responsibility to minister to people with mental illness, say two psychiatrists trained in theology. Churches can do much to welcome, be with and support those with mental illness.  Learning how to be friends with people with mental illness is really about learning how to be friends with people generally, Kinghorn said.

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