Try to wrap your arms around this fact: One in four Americans suffers with long-term mental illness. No one speaks on the subject of mental illness like Patsy Clairmont . . . because she has lived through it. Having struggled for years, Patsy speaks openly, candidly, and truthfully about many aspects of her struggle—including what God has taught her and how others can have hope.
You or someone you know likely struggles with mental illness; it’s time we learn how to embrace one another with love and grace.
Patsy gives us hope.
Watch the Interview
What if a news report announced one in every four homes in your neighborhood would be burglarized next week? Let’s consider some ways you could respond:
- Pray that your home won’t be “that fourth one”
- Gossip with the neighbors about someone else’s home
- Disregard the report and consider it another news media scare tactic
- Be convinced nothing will happen—because you know enough about home security
- Do a little research and talk with your family about the best ways to protect your home and then implement the ideas that seem best for your family—maybe even work with a few other families and establish a neighborhood watch
I’m assuming most of us would choose option five! Nothing is perfectly secure, but taking steps to increase one’s security is wise.
Now, thinking about the 1-in-4 statistic, let’s examine an actual statistic that affects every neighborhood in America: one in four Americans suffers with long-term mental illness.
As with one in four homes, one person out of four is fighting an invisible battle. And most are fighting it alone. One extensive study conducted not long ago by LifeWay Research surveyed a random sample of Americans in regard to the topic of mental illness. Of those surveyed:
- Forty-eight percent of self-identified evangelical, fundamentalist, or born-again Christians agree with the statement, “With Bible study and prayer ALONE, people with serious mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can overcome mental illness.”
- Thirty-five percent of all surveyed agree with the statement, “With Bible study and prayer ALONE, people with serious mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can overcome mental illness.”
- Americans who never attend church services are the least likely to agree that churches welcome those with mental illness.[ref]Bob Smietana, “Half of Evangelicals Believe Prayer Can Heal Mental Illness,” LifeWay NewsRoom (accessed Jan. 19, 2015).[/ref]
- What affect did your phobia have on your life?
- How did God help you begin to help you fight your phobia?
- Why was doing the next right thing essential to regaining your mental health?
- How long did you wrestle with depression and fear?
- Why do we need to work at developing greater control over our emotions?
- How did coming to a place of humility help you mend your relationships?
- Why does it sometimes require courage to be vulnerable with others?
- How can we also be vulnerable in the church?
- How did God bring you hope and healing in the middle of your recovery?
- Why is it important to revisit past grief?
- Where do you turn when old fears resurface?
Let Me Hear from You
In this interview, we talked about many issues . . . acceptance, fear, truth, hope, grief, addictions, and pain. Patsy touched on one of the most powerful disciplines in life: choosing to focus our minds on what is right and true. While on earth, we will all struggle with countless struggles; how we handle these struggles makes all the difference. Clearly, God has given us a mind and His Word to direct us in every way.
Are you choosing to focus on His truth to guide you, or have you allowed your feelings to take over? What about those who wrestle with mental challenges such as depression, anxiety, fear, post-traumatic stress, or suicidal thoughts?
Maybe that person is you. The mind, like any organ in the body, sometimes becomes ill and requires help.
As a Christian, are you part of helping in that healing process? We would love to hear from you. If you are struggling, please know you are not alone and will not be rejected. You can also connect with Patsy through her blog, or you can find support through her many books and speaking engagements. Please reach out for help and hope.
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Insight for Living Ministries Resources
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: NAMI the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, support, and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.
- Mental Health Grace Alliance: Mental Health Grace Alliance is a Christian-based organization purposed to transform lives, communities of faith, and society through education, training, collaboration, small-group studies, and peer-provider support.
- National Institute of Mental Health: NIMH is committed to research, education, publications, and helping people understand mental illness and find hope for healing.