Many of the people we serve in Christ either personally suffer from mental illness or are caring for someone suffering from mental illness. Statistics say 1 in 4 of our congregation falls into this category. And statistics also prove we may be the first person they seek help from. There are many free resources available for us to educate ourselves to their needs and how to minister to them ethically. I encourage all of you to become more compassionate and aware of the impact mental illness has on the body of Christ.
I am sharing links to two organizations that are extremely respected and have many free resources to help us as faith leaders to minister more effectively to individuals and families in crisis. Embracing them in their time of need is imperative. Compassion, understanding, and awareness to their specialized needs will come through educating yourself in how to address them spiritually and ethically. These trusted organizations have truly laid a firm foundation for all of us in ministry to benefit from. I urge you to take a look at what they have to offer there are many support resources you may share with your church family as well.
The truth is we as people accept the fact that our other organs malfunction or fall subject to disease. There is no persecution per se of those that are born with irregularly sized hearts or whose kidneys no longer function at operational capacity. It seems as if all other organs receive some sort of grace when they malfunction or become diseased. Unfortunately, our brains are not exempt from the maladies that plague other organs but there is an undeserved stigma that comes along when they do fail or malfunction. Mental illness is as real as diabetes, cancer or liver disease. Those that feel it effects often suffer shame as well as exclusion from society, let us as faith leaders not be a part of that excommunication. Let us learn to serve them in the same capacity as we would any other member of our congregation going through a time of need.
The mentally ill person’s family is also in great need of love and support. Mental illness can be very taxing emotionally for those that are caring for someone who suffers from mental illness just the daily experience can leave them feeling drained and alone. We as a faith community must provide the caregivers with the love and support of Jesus Christ and care for them too in their times of need. We must stand together to end the stigma and erode the barriers that separate those in need with love and compassion of Christ. Please join me in being more aware.
My son’s mental illness and how it opened my eyes to this great need for more awareness in the faith community.