Mental Health Awareness Month, a good time to start or expand a mental health ministry in your church and community
May 19, 2021
One in five Americans annually experience mental health issues ranging in severity from temporary psychological distress to serious depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Of this number, four in ten adults and just over half of children aged 8-15 receive appropriate care, often because of stigma associated with these illnesses and their treatments.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have further affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already living with mental illness and substance use disorders. Ongoing and necessary public health measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus have exposed many people to situations linked to poor mental health outcomes, such as isolation and job loss. As with COVID-19 generally, these impacts have disproportionately affected the health of communities of color.
Pastors can help address the longstanding disconnect between need and appropriate care by preaching and speaking about mental illness with directness and compassion from the pulpit. But speaking and preaching will only take a congregation so far. Real and sustained progress requires a change in cultures that demand people hide a part of who they are.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a good time to start or expand a mental health ministry in your church and community. In the May 13 edition of The Christian Citizen Weekly, you will find links to two new articles on faith and mental health as well as a special section of previously published articles and podcasts. You will also find organizational resources to help you improve access to mental health services and supports in your congregation and community.
Together, lets address the stigma associated with mental illnesses and their treatments. Together, lets improve access to mental health services and supports.
Curtis Ramsey-Lucas is editor of The Christian Citizen and The Christian Citizen Weekly and host of the “Justice. Mercy. Faith.” podcast. His book #InThisTogether: Ministry in Times of Crisis is available from Judson Press.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Baptist Home Mission Societies.