January 11, 2013
Ministry to people with mental illness
When someone in our small group falls and breaks a hip, we know how to respond. We visit the hospital, send encouraging cards, and deliver meals.
But do we know what to do when someone is diagnosed with mental illness?
Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds, a book on mental illness and the church coming out in April, has first-hand experience with mental illness in the church. Amy's mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and Amy has learned a lot about living with, loving, and ministering to people with mental illness.
In a radio appearance today on "This Is the Day" on Moody Radio, Amy gave several tips for ministering to people with mental illness—and they're tips for all of us. Statistically, we will all encounter people with mental illness. There are 12 million people in the U.S. alone with a serious mental illness (1 in 17 adults) and 25% of all Americans have some form of diagnosable mental illness.
Simpson reminded listeners that it is a great first step to refer people with mental illness to appropriate doctors and therapists. But that isn't enough. We must commit to walk with them through the process, helping to deliver holistic care. Simpson said to remember to smile, make eye contact, and say "hi." Help remove the stigma by regularly mentioning mental illness in group discussions, studies, and prayers. Ask how treatment is going. And remember that there is hope for all in Christ.
For a full-length article on this topic, read Amy's article "Through a Glass, Darkly" from our sister ministry Leadership Journal. And stay tuned for more from her book later this year.
And if you're struggling with this now, use our Bible study Ministering to Those with a Mental Illness to work through some of your questions.
posted by Amy Jackson on January 11, 2013 11:26 AM