Will churches help to erase shame about mental illnesses?
Excerpt from “Can Churches Separate Mental Illness and Shame? Rick Warren confronts one more “last taboo.”” – cover story in Christianity Today by Christine A. Scheller (3/31/14)::
“In some Asian populations, we know there are not even words for therapy or suicide,” said Kristee Haggins, senior associate at the California Institute for Mental Health and one of a dozen or so exhibitors. Unwillingness and/or the inability to access care are common barriers across cultures, said Haggins. But there is an added layer of resistance among some ethnic groups. Members of these groups may prefer to access non-psychological resources and services, like church and spirituality, she told CT.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/march-web-only/rick-warren-saddleback-mental-health.html?paging=off
I have more red flags in my background than you could shake a stick at, but the one that’s hardest to communicate clearly to a group or an individual is having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It needs almost its own documentation or paperwork — an expert testimony from when I was hospitalized twice — to comfort my listeners into accepting that it’s merely another form of brokenness from the Fall, neither better nor worse than anything else. It just is. And I manage it fine.
@hfreeman17 thanks for adding your comment about this.. Yes this is a very challenging and hard thing to communicate how to understand mental illness and respond to people who are struggling as well as people who are managing okay. And I think it will just take more communication efforts to explain, to increase exposure, to raise awareness, and my hope is that over time, it’ll become less harder to communicate and easier to understand.