Monday, January 09, 2017

3 Insensitive Lies the Church Believes About Mental Health

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in America experiences mental illness in any given year, and 1 in 25 adults experiences a serious mental illness that impedes day-to-day activities. With statistics like these, the call for our attention is great.

As a Christian who is also a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist, I recognize the connection between faith, mental health and how we relate to one another. Whether the struggle is our own or that of a family member or friend, the effects mental illness can be devastating and isolating.

It seems that if someone receives a physical or medical diagnosis, there is great concern and empathy without question—however, the same is not true for a mental-health diagnosis. Somehow there are assumptions that, “It’s all in their head,” or, “They’re just being dramatic,” or, “That’s an excuse for ....”

Each of these statements is hurtful, and the ones saying them fail to understand that the same way a person recently diagnosed with or battling cancer, diabetes, etc. needs and appreciates kind words and gestures, the individual recently diagnosed or dealing with a chronic mental illness needs and desires the same. As the church, we should make ourselves available to and for the purpose of loving people where they are while allowing God to draw them closer.

An understanding of these three statements can help the body of Christ be sensitive to the mental and emotional needs of its members. Read More

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