What can churches do?
Clearly most church teams face low resources and a wide range of thoroughly good things they could do (the challenge is working out which to do). However some of the below are very low resource and could have a major impact in reducing suffering.
LOW RESOURCE – HIGH IMPACT
1. Give open and accepting messages from leadership and peers on mental ill-health.
Church leaders mentioning mental illness in open, positive, accepting and supporting ways will (a) reduce stigma, which causes great distress in itself, and (b) ‘validate’ and ‘normalise’ people’s own experiences, which can be very important in enabling them to move forward.
This could include recovered people talking in services about their experience, and teaching on the humanity of people God has used (e.g. Elijah), with linkage to current personal experiences.
Personal narratives of ‘normal’ (e.g. paying taxes, having jobs, being married, parenting) people who are successfully managing and/or have overcome a mental illness are particularly powerful in reducing stigma.
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[the views expressed in this PDF are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Mind and Soul]