Mental Health as Mission
May 16, 2019 | AMIA Communications
When an individual or family faces a mental health crisis, often they turn first to their faith community for help and support. It’s important, therefore, that churches become informed and be ready to embrace the opportunity to minister.
According to psychologist Dr. Matthew Stanford, co-founder of The Grace Alliance, it is the Church that is uniquely positioned to minister to families coping with mental illnesses. “Because of the power of Christ within His people, our churches can be sanctuaries for the suffering. … God is sending those broken by mental illness to us so they might receive hope and healing. Mental health is the great mission field of the 21st century, and it is time the Church recognized its God-given role.”
There are many resources available to church leaders and congregations to help you become more aware and informed about mental health. Below are just a few blogs, articles and book recommendations:
Blogs and Articles
Mental Health and the Church (AMiA)
Mental Health and the Healthy Church (Influence)
Why Christians Need to Stop Stigmatizing Mental Illness (The Mighty)
Suffering is Not a Sin (Sojourners)
Four guidelines for mental health issues and the church (The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission)
Mental Health Guide for Faith Leaders (American Psychiatric Association)
Quick Reference on Mental Illness for Faith Leaders (American Psychiatric Association)
Sparks of Redemptive Grace (Catherine Downing)
Downing, Catherine. Sparks of Redemptive Grace: Seeking and Seeing God Amid a Loved One’s Mental Illness
Simpson, Amy. Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 2013.
Stanford, Matthew S. Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness. Colorado Springs, CO: Paternoster Publishing. 2008
Stanford, Matthew S. Madness and Grace: A Practical Guide for Pastoral Care and Serious Mental Illness. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Press 2021.
Webb, Marcia. Toward a Theology of Psychological Disorder. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. 2017
Websites with resources
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
 Rethinking Mental Healthcare: How the Church Can Transform a Broken System. Christian Counseling Today, Vol. 21, No. 2, July 2015.