The bishops of New York State have published a pastoral letter regarding people who suffer mental illness.
The letter, titled, ‘For I am Lonely and Afflicted’: Toward a Just Response to the Needs of Mentally Ill Persons,” recalls the example of Jesus, saying, “we must reject the twin temptations of stereotype and fear, which can cause us to see mentally ill people as something other than children of God, made in His image and likeness, deserving of our love and respect.”
Regarding the fears that people might have concerning mentally ill people the letter noted that fewer than 5% of violent acts are committed by people with mental illness. The bishops also commented that, “persons with mental illness are more often victims than perpetrators of violent acts, and they also are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse.”
Mental illness also places a heavy burden on family members, the letter explained. “The suffering endured by mentally ill persons is a most difficult cross to bear, as is the sense of powerlessness felt by their families and loved ones.”
“Our Judeo-Christian tradition calls us to be witnesses of God’s love and mercy and to be instruments of hope for these individuals,” the bishops urged.
You can read the document at this link.