Suicide and Religious Faith

Today I share the second question in our broad conversation about faith and mental illness. Last weeks question is still open for you to post your replies.Today's question is very sensitive and requires great tact. But it is not possible to speak about mental illness without speaking about this.Please see my previous post for more information about how we can be a part of reducing the risk of suicidePlease post links to your answers to this question in the comment section below and … [Read more...]

How has faith shaped our view of mental illness?

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The folks here at Patheos asked me to host a broad conversation about mental illness which is inspired by the release of Amy Simpson's book Troubled Minds. You can also read and reply to the second question which addresses suicide.In this post I will share some quotes and excerpts from the first week's question which was really two questions:How has your religious community historically seen mental illness? – And how does your faith, today, shape the way you see mental illness?First, let m … [Read more...]

Introducing a new comment system and getting to know you better

I realized recently that I totally missed the ten year anniversary of this blog! I would love to take the opportunity that such an anniversary  provides to get to know some of your better. I have a new discussion system in place to help facilitate that.I am pleased to announce that Disqus has been activated on my blog to replace my old comments system.  There are a number of advantages to using this system.  Firstly it allows you to track all your comments in one place and see who has rep … [Read more...]

A conversation about faith and mental illness

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Several things seem to have come together to make the subject of mental illness and people of faith very topical.One month ago tragedy struck the family of Rick Warren, one of America's best known pastors. Since then many have been writing about mental health with a new conviction. Also, Amy Simpson has released her moving book Troubled Minds - Mental Illness and the Church's Mission which is now featured on the Patheos Book Club.May has been declared Mental Health Awareness Month, and … [Read more...]

What is Schizophrenia and how is it treated?

Schizophrenia is a serious, often highly disabling mental illness. Many get confused and think schizophrenia is a split personality disorder. This is not the case at all. Instead it is characterized by the presence of psychotic symptoms, and the absence of significant mood symptoms.People can get some psychotic symptoms with the Mood Disorders (Depression and Bipolar Disorder). These should only be present during the mood episodes, and are supposed to be consistent with the mood state rather … [Read more...]

Growing up with a mother who was a pastor’s wife with Schizophrenia

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In her new book, Troubled Minds, Amy Simpson bravely shares her own story of how her mother's mental health affected her upbringing. She speaks of not feeling she could tell any of her friends about her mother's mental illness.  Troubled Minds also weaves in experiences shared by other Christians, and shares the results of a survey of church leaders on the subject. This is an excellent book for those who have no understanding of mental illness, but it also has a great message for those who do … [Read more...]

What is Bipolar Disorder and how is it treated?

Last week I spoke about what psychiatrists call "Major Depressive Disorder."  Today I want to speak about Bipolar Disorder, the condition formally known as Manic Depression.  This post should be read in conjunction with a few others in this series in particular.  Here are the key ones that are important for understanding this article:What causes mental illness? What can we do to reduce the risk of suicide? How can I recognize a possible mental illness? What are mental illnesses and di … [Read more...]

Going to a doctor for help is never a sign of lack of faith

One thing I like about Patheos is it gives us a chance to read what others think of us. It isn't always pretty, it isn't always comfortable reading. But listening to other's perspectives is often of benefit us. Sometimes they may prompt us to say something we wouldn't have otherwise, as the "Friendly Atheist" did today. I read his post about a couple who have apparently not sought medical help on two occasions leading in each case to their death of a child.Friendly Atheist feels that … [Read more...]

What is depression and how is it treated?

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I have been speaking about mental illness for a while now on the blog. I want to now turn to some specific illnesses and look at how they are treated, and what Christians can do to support those treatment efforts. Remember first of all, to always be alert to the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions.If you are unsure what a mental illness is, see the previous posts in this series, especially: What is a mental illness? and What causes mental illnesses?In a previous post I outlined the majo … [Read more...]

What causes mental illness?

As psychiatrists we are taught the biophsychosocial model for the cause of mental illnesses. Note that this is written as one word, which is intended to indicate the unity of each of these aspects. As Christians we would include  spiritual as a forth aspect of the model.When approaching mental illnesses, one major reason for the stigma often associated with them is that we often have a Greek, dualistic approach to thinking about ourselves, and about illness. Thus, in a gross ov … [Read more...]


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