Disability Concerns has partnered with Faith and Hope Ministries to produce a free, downloadable study series on mental illness. Let’s Talk! Breaking the Silence around Mental Illness in Our Communities of Faith will open conversations about this often hidden subject.
Although the idea of leading a study series on mental illnesses may seem intimidating, Let's Talk! was written so that any caring Christian who has some skill in small group leadership can facilitate the discussion. It includes a Study Guide and an extensive Leader Guide with good background information.
Besides Let's Talk!, Disability Concerns has added a new section to our website called Mental Health Resources. This new page includes worship resources and other tools for ministry that will help congregations better understand and support people dealing with mental illnesses.
About 25 percent of the North American population experiences a diagnosable mental disorder during any given year. As with the population at large, members of Christ’s body struggle with a variety of mental health issues. A much smaller population, about six percent, live with a serious mental illness. Due to its prevalence among younger people, mental disorders are now the leading cause of disability in the United States and Canada for people ages 15 to 44.
Recognizing these issues, Synod 2010 encourages “Christian Reformed churches, classes, ministries, and institutions to sponsor events to observe Disability Week from October 11 through 17, 2010, with a suggested focus on mental health issues."
I hope and pray that your congregation will find a way to address issues of mental illness in a loving and pastoral way in October or some other time in the next year. The new resources from Disability Concerns should help.