From Disability Concerns Inclusion Handbook, here are some ideas for ministry with people who have mental illnesses. Please feel free to share these with your congregation in a newsletter, from the pulpit, or some other way.
- Greet the person normally, making brief eye contact with “Hello” and the person’s name.
- Avoid asking, “How are you doing?” or “How do you feel?” These phrases are extremely painful, especially when other people are present.
- Don’t be afraid to make “small talk.”
- “I’m glad to see you,” is one of the most helpful phrases.
- Do not push or pressure other people when they say they cannot do something you ask them to do.
- Listen when they try to talk about their difficulty. It's important to them that you know and care.
- Do not try to make light of the difficulty. It may seem like a small problem to you, but it is a big problem to them.
- Do not try to determine what people can or cannot do from what you observe them doing. Sometimes people can do things in one environment that they cannot do in another.
- Above all, realize that most people are doing the best they can at any given moment with the abilities they have and in the environment surrounding them.