Let’s just admit it. We’re all a little anxious right now. These unusual times have strained the mental health of nearly everyone.
Did you know that, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in five adults across North America experienced a diagnosable mental health disorder each year? Now anxiety and depression are rising even higher in the turbulent wake of COVID-19.
One resource Disability Concerns has created to help churches discuss mental illness is a free, downloadable study series titled “Let’s Talk! Breaking the Silence around Mental Illness in Our Communities of Faith.” This four-part series for small groups was developed to open conversations about the often hidden, silent subject of mental illness.
Sandy W. is one who has benefited from the “Let's Talk” material. She was first introduced to the curriculum by a Baptist pastor who hosted a small faith-based mental health discussion group at his church. She was blessed by it and brought it to her local CRC congregation in Ontario.
She received permission from the leadership team and facilitated a small group. Her group’s passion prompted the Minister to Families to preach a sermon on the topic. The sermon was followed by an excellent conversation period among many in the congregation.
As someone who lives with depression herself, teaching through “Let’s Talk” gave Sandy the opportunity to break the silence surrounding mental illness and to educate others in her church. It also provided her personal encouragement and a feeling of value as a leader in her congregation. The vibrant and caring discussions that have grown from her groups have blessed many--both those whose lives have been touched by mental health challenges and those that have not.
Sandy continues as an advocate for Disability Concerns and leads small groups using the Let’s Talk resources. This past summer she was facilitator and walked through the material with others via Zoom conferences at Queensway Baptist Church in Brantford, Ont.
Disability Concerns has many more tools that can help churches become healthy communities that learn with people who have mental health challenges and physical disabilities. They can open up and help provide opportunities for each member to lead and become a vibrant part of their congregation.
So let’s admit that we may all be a little anxious. But let’s not forget that we are all in the hands of the great physician. And remember Paul’s plea from Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Please consider partnering with Disability Concerns by giving an end of the year gift to support our ongoing efforts. And continue to pray that the Lord will use us as an effective tool in assisting congregations during these unusual times.