What Is It Like To Face Mental Illness Within The Church
The Church has made great progress in how we address mental illness within our communities and our congregations, but there is still a great deal more work to be done. We still fail many of our friends and family members who struggle with mental illness, and the Church is still not the type of safe and healthy environment someone facing mental illness needs.
For many healthy people, it can be hard to see how our churches are underserving or turning away those who need it the most. It is impossible to escape our own minds and those who have never faced mental illness have absolutely no way of truly comprehending the experiences they deal with and the ways our churches often neglect them.
However, we can still educate ourselves and gain as much insight as possible. We may not be able to see the experiences first hand, but letting those who have struggled through mental illness can help us see the world through their eyes, if only for a short time.
Donna Gibbs, Ph.D., recently let one of her clients share her story in the blog for the American Association of Christian Counselors. Her client, Kathy, has fought through mental illness, and according to Gibbs is now thriving. Most importantly, Kathy has always kept her faith through her trials, despite many not always having faith in her.
We all can learn from Kathy. Churches especially could use to heed her words and evaluate how we can be more effective in guiding those who are hurting.