Faith communities are often the first places individuals and families turn to when faced with the challenges of mental illness, especially during a crisis. Churches have unique opportunities to minister, not only in times of acute struggle, but in the daily hurdles as well.
A 2018 LifeWay Research study found most pastors, family members and those living with acute mental illnesses agree that local churches have a responsibility to provide resources and support for these individuals and their families. But, knowing how to serve them in ways that truly bless them and affirm their value can be a challenge.
Thankfully, there are many resources that can help churches become more aware of mental illnesses and how to minister to those who struggle with these conditions. The following books and websites provide information and tools to help churches welcome those who deal with mental health challenges and provide practical assistance. Continue reading
Awareness of the truth about mental illnesses is a first step in learning to come alongside those whose lives are impacted by them. Although understanding and acceptance of these conditions are growing, much progress is required before those dealing with serious mental health challenges are met with support and friendship rather than fear. Below are six ways you can become an advocate for those living with mental illnesses by being able to help others gain awareness. Continue reading
It’s hard to overstate the impact that caring family members can have in the lives of individuals dealing with serious mental illnesses. Those living with mental health challenges may engage with their families far more than their mental health care providers, and everyday interactions with parents, children, spouses, siblings and other relatives play a pivotal role in helping them pursue recovery. Below are seven things family caregivers can do to support a loved one in their struggle with mental illness. Continue reading
Through the efforts of many advocates, thankfully there is a growing awareness of mental illnesses and the struggles of those who live with them. But, on its own, just knowledge of the hurdles faced by individuals living with mental health conditions doesn’t necessarily provide help.
I talked with our members about what others could do to provide support and encouragement. It turns out, there are many ways to assist that aren’t really complicated or take a lot of effort. I’ve made a little list of some simple ways to move beyond mere awareness and into action. Continue reading
Suicide is an issue the church cannot afford to ignore. In a LifeWay Research study nearly a third of churchgoers said they’d lost a close family member or acquaintance to suicide. Of those, over a third said their loved one attended a church at least once a month prior to his or her death.
Those wrestling with suicidal thoughts and those who love them are in the pews of our congregations. Churches have a great responsibility and opportunity to reach out in compassion to those who are struggling. Continue reading
When Mary, a long-time member of The Well Community, passed away un-expectedly, several others from The Well took turns caring for her mother until long-term care could be arranged. Brian, the manager at Jacob’s House, takes time each day to listen compassionately as his housemates talk about the worries on their minds. Sue is always available to say a prayer when someone needs comfort.
Caring relationships are one of the least highlighted yet most important components of recovery for those dealing with severe mental illnesses. Isolation and loneliness are crushing companions when other people don’t reach out and connect. Continue reading
Carol and Murray Arbuckle and friends
When Carol Arbuckle first heard about the need for volunteers at The Well Community through her church, First Baptist Frisco, she and her husband, Murray, had already discussed a desire to do something in service to God beyond giving things and money. Looking back, she sees His hand in bringing the opportunity to serve at The Well to her attention at just the right time. Continue reading
Knowledge about mental illnesses and the people who struggle with them can go a long way in empowering you to come alongside friends and family members dealing with these conditions. As we begin a new year, we encourage you to commit to educating yourself on mental illness and how you can help those who live with mental health challenges. These eight books, including several by Dallas-area authors, are a great place to start. Continue reading
Suicide is often considered a taboo topic. But, the facts about it are too important to keep quiet. In 2014, 3,225 people in Texas lost their lives to suicide. On average, that’s one every three hours.
Each life that’s cut short is one too many. But, knowing the facts about suicide is one of the first steps in breaking the stigma that surrounds it, and in helping those at risk for ending their own lives. Continue reading
Mental illnesses have a ripple effect. The National Alliance on Mental Illness recognizes that the “challenges of mental illness do not only affect an individual’s family members but also friends, teachers, neighbors, coworkers and others in the community.” Often, those who serve as caregivers are impacted the most. Continue reading