Article: Towards a Christian Perspective on Mental Illness

mental illnessOver the last 4 weeks I have been blogging on the subject of mental illness. The posts in this series were excerpts from a larger article I have been developing on the subject. This post makes the current draft of this article available; which has more materials than the sum of the last month’s worth of posts.

The outline for the article is:

  1. Introduction
    • Helping you understand what my objectives are and are not for this article
    • In this article, I am assuming there are a relatively equal number of people who avoid getting help (i.e., counseling or medication) because of the stigma of mental illness as there are people who use the labels of mental illness as a crutch to avoid taking responsibility for important choices in their life.
    • Whether the two groups divide into a neat 50-50 split in the culture at-large or in your specific circle of relationships, I believe it is generally agreed that there are a large number of people in both camps. Too often, discussions like this one are intended only to change the perspective of one side of the issue. This, I believe, biases those presentations.
  2. A Starting Point — Good Questions
    • Expanding the number of good questions you can ask about the subject of mental illness
    • The questions that we know to ask about a subject powerfully impact that quality of conversations we are able to have
    • Often people disagree as much because they have competing questions as because they have competing answers
  3. What Is Mental Illness?
    • Examining the various definitions of mental illness that are commonly used
    • Proposing a definition for how the term
    • Providing an exercise to help you understand the implication of this definition
  4. Getting Practical with Four Questions
    • How would you identify if a struggle has primarily biological, environmental, or volitional causes?
    • What are the different spiritual ramifications for struggles rooted in biology, environment, or personal choice?
    • What is a good process for deciding when and how to use psychotropic medications as a tool for mental health?
    • How should the church be involved in caring for one another with mental health struggles?

My hope is that this resource can be one instrument God uses to make the church an increasingly safe and effective place for people to talk about their life struggles.

For the full article in PDF form click the link below:

Towards a Christian Perspective on Mental Illness


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