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Re: Williams: Guest expert on depression and anxiety

Posted by psycjw on April 12, 2005, at 13:54:41

In reply to Re: Williams: Guest expert on depression and anxiety, posted by Buckeye Fan on April 12, 2005, at 7:59:31

its very difficult to see how things can change other than i slowly. practical changes e.g. by mental health issues being a topic which is actively discussed in church e.g. in bible classes, sermons, inductions to church membership etc may help. in essence churches need to clearly say we know many members will struggle from time to time and we are there to help support you at those times and at times when you feel well.

for real change to happen there prob also needs to be a real sea change in how these areas are discussed in pastoral training courses/courses for the ministry. such a large amount of pastoral work must be around supporting people who are distressed - but i think much of this is "hidden" from the general congregation. sometimes thats a good thing (confidentiality/privacy) however sometimes its more to do with peoples feelings of shame that they feel distressed. shame is an emotion we don't often talk about in churches (- we tend to focus on guilt or "positive" emotions such as love/joy etc). however an important part of many peoples lives as human beings is that it really matters what other people think of us as well as what God thinks. Perhaps by making it really clear in church magazine articles, sermons, outreaches etc that as a church we are interested in people as they come - with all our respective strengths and weaknesses, then we can begin to talk evenly about emotions such as shame, anxiety and anger

after all Jesus is clearly desribed as anxious (garden of gethsemene) and angry (turning over the money changers tables). these emotions are part of us and i agree with you are as much to be discussed as any other

we put a section in the book specifically aimed at church leaders for this reason - to actively consider how they react to mental illness. theres lots of practical things that can be done - and also in developing partnerships with mental health practitioners. i dont know what the situation is like in the States, but in the UK there often exists a state of mutual suspicion between mental health workers and church workers which is a shame.

its been great getting a mix of Christian church workers and also psychiatrists supporting the feeling like this project. we have set up some discussion forums to get people discussing these topics at and this is moderated by church workers and medics. this is a very much smaller and newer forum (- in fact only a month old) than the psychobabble one.

it will be interesting to see whether we can get a dialogue going between health and church based workers
chris w




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