Rates of mental illness rising.
This past decade has seen unprecedented levels of need.
We’re in the midst of a mental health crisis – and we know it.
We have awareness – it’s time to take the next step.
And for the church, I think the next step is one of lament.
Our laments are joined and enabled by the Holy Spirit who translates our groans and despair.
We live in the frustration of waiting – for change, for healing.
Mental illness is all too often characterised by waiting – for help, medication, treatment, hope.
The good news is that the christian hope is not just wishful thinking – we are joined in the wait by the Holy Spirit who was sent to give us a foretaste of the hope we will one day enjoy in full, who translates our wordless groans into prayer.
Our laments are not new cries, they are echoes of the suffering of Jesus, enabled by the spirit so that when we experience a shadow of the darkness Jesus descended into, but not without hope.
J Todd Billings, a theologian with incurable cancer writes:
“Our own ‘loud cries and tears’ are not those of one blazing new trails into grief; they are a Spirit-enabled sharing in the suffering of the One who has plunged even deeper into the darkness than us- yet not without hope.”
As we at ThinkTwice mark our 10th anniversary, we want to see a change in the conversation about mental health – moving from awareness to real understanding and empathy.
We believe that to do this, as the church we need to lament how we have faced mental illness in the past, lament the inequalities facing millions every day and then lead the way as we push the conversation forward with hope.
We are going to focus on the first part of the year exploring how we can lament in the midst if mental health struggles- and the latter part of the year looking forward at how we can practically lead the way in changing the conversation around mental illness.
Our churches need to become sanctuaries for those struggling with mental health issues; not apart from our worship, but as a part of our worship.
We can lead the way in increasing understanding of mental illness, because our Bible is full of every spectrum of emotion and they are all laid at the foot of the cross and we can collaborate with modern psychiatry and mental health care to provide care and relief.
The conversation about mental health in our churches is one that needs to continue so that the church can lead the way in seeing an end of the stigma of mental health in our churches, our communities and our country.