"It is time for the church to realize that mental illness is ILLNESS"
It is time to DESTROY the lies, misconceptions and erroneous beliefs in the church concerning mental illness. It is time for the church to realize that mental illness is ILLNESS. Individuals diagnosed with mental illness deserve the same respect, compassion and love as the cancer patient. It is disturbing to know that many people attribute the onset of mental illness to sin, a lack of faith, or that they do not love God. Ironically, I have never heard anyone make the same blanket statements to those suffering from heart disease, cancer or even kidney disease. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 1 in 5 American adults experience mental illness. One thing the church needs to recognize is that mental illness comes in many different forms and can "look" different as it affects a variety of people. Schizophrenia which is a chronic progressive psychotic disorder is a mental health disorder that most adults have heard in their lifetime. But how many people have heard of trichotillophagia or even somatoform disorders? Many pastors have tried unsuccessfully to assist individuals in their local congregation that in many cases only needed a referral to a mental health professional. Mental health diagnosis must be taken serious because it is a known fact that 90% of those who commit suicide had an underlying mental illness (NAMI). And sadly we have seen a number of pastors committing suicide over the past few years. In the Christian church we have to STOP shaming and even hindering people because they are seeking treatment from a mental health professional. If cancer warrants a visit to a doctor so does a diagnosable mental health disorder. There are a number of Christian mental health professionals that are able to assist people on a journey to healing and wholeness.