Wednesday, October 05, 2011

10 Things Churches Can Do About Mental Illness

WYLL radio show host, Karl Clauson, interviewed me (air date Oct. 15th 1190 am Chicago). He wanted to get to the question, what can churches do about mental illness? But the show went by so fast that he wasn't able to ask my thoughts.

The question is so relevant, I couldn't pass up sharing a few ideas.
1. Get educated. Have some community professionals come in and teach about mental illness.
2. Offer support groups for family members of mentally ill individuals. These folks are often very lonely, sometimes ostracized, and desperate for a support system.
3. Start a Stephen Ministry. Offer the one-on-one care of a Stephen Minister to individuals.
4. Offer Bible studies on outreach ministry to mentally ill and families of the mentally ill.
5. Offer prayer.
6. Get connected with health providers in the community so caring referrals can happen.
7. Offer NAMI meeting space.
8. Offer childcare for families during interventions, regular counseling times, and organized support meeting times.
9. Support frazzled caretakers by providing meals to relieve their stress.
10. Simply ask how you can help. Most family members keep their needs close to the chest for fear of rejection. Offer love and follow through.

I'd also love to hear your thoughts on how our churches can improve in dealing with mentally ill people and their family members. Please share.

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