Saturday, June 13, 2015

How Churches Best Minister to People who are Mentally and Emotionally Distressed

This seems to be a big issue now days. Various people post about it and folks related to such persons have some strong views. Here are my two cents.

First a brief overview of my focus on education, care, counseling and support of people across the spectrum of mental/emotional needs.

I grew up in a village and church that accepted everyone no matter what diagnosis they might have bur nobody knew anything about what we now call "Mental Illness". That was great.

My grandfather was Clinically Depressed and went to bed as a young man. I stayed with him from almost daily age 7 to age 14. I did not know why he was immobilized.

 My uncle had brain damage at age 3. He lived next door and we took care of him. He went to church with us everywhere. He sang, prayed, talked loudly in church, cussed me out in meetings and was totally accepted by everyone.

But things are different now, it seems. Churches have become more sanitized and people with a special need are usually placed in a special room separated from others. In fact, as a kid, we had everyone in church at the same time. Babies, who were still on breast milk, crying and sometimes fighting with siblings. Church was a bit messy but it was like a a family not a performance.

Is that possible today? Probably not but we can teach people how to accept everyone rather than get upset if a distressed kid or adult enters the building. I have seen it done in a lot of churches, but we have to alter our model of what a church is all about from a structured, organization dedicated to performances.

See our web for ideas.

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