Churches have always been a pillar of society. They provide a sense of community, social interaction, and support sytems that are different from what the world offers. Now more than ever, churches are becoming a place of refuge for those with mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year. That’s 43.8 million people! Chances are that someone in your church is living with a
mental illness right now.
Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, young or old, male or female. It affects all races, religions, and ethnicities. In fact, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness. So how can we as pastors better minister to our congregations when mental illness is present?
3 Ways To Minister To Those Struggling With Mental Illness
1) Educate Yourself And Others About Mental Illness
The first step to ministering to those with mental illness is to educate yourself and others about it. Too often, mental illness is stigmatized and misunderstood. As a result, those suffering from mental illness often feel isolated and alone. Even within the church, there is often a lack of understanding about mental illness and how to best support those affected by it. By educating yourself and others about mental illness, you can help remove the stigma and offer support and understanding to those who need it most.
2) Reach Out And Offer Support
The second way to minister to those with mental illness is to reach out and offer support. This can be done in a number of ways, such as offering one-on-one counseling, starting a support group for those affected by mental illness, or simply being there as a listening ear. It’s important to remember that everyone copes with mental illness differently, so be sure to tailor your support accordingly.
3) Advocate For Change
The third way to minister to those with mental illness is to advocate for change. This can be done in a variety of ways such as by writing letters to elected officials or working with local organizations that support those affected by mental illness. You can also use your platform as a pastor to bring awareness to the issue of mental health within your church and community at large. By advocating for change, you can help break down the barriers that often prevent those
with mental illnesses from getting the help they need.
Mental illness is one of the most prevalent issues facing our society today. As pastors, it’s important that we are equipped to properly minister to those affected by it. By educating ourselves and others about mental health, reaching out and offering support, and advocating for change, we can make a real difference in the lives of those struggling with mental illness.