Commonly, people within the unsupported church will hide their mental illness from their peers and from church leadership, for fear of being seen as different due to stigma surrounding mental illness. Not having the right support within the church, stigma may flourish and effectively create areas of distrust in leadership. Stigma is a response to ignorant fear that promotes a distorted view of those with a mental health condition.
Hollywood movies have depicted those with mental illness as mad and capable of doing all sorts of horrible things, particularly with examples like the movie ‘Psycho’ (1998 trailer) and more recently the movie, ‘Split,’ may be seen as Hollywood’s attempt to demonise a condition known as Dissociative Identity Disorder, often caused by childhood trauma.
However, over the years there have also been movies that take a more human look at the life of people living with a mental illness.
4 realistic movies depicting life with a mental illness
- Good Will Hunting (1997) – Robin Williams plays a therapist to a depressed Matt Damon’s character.
- Girl Interrupted (1999 ) – Winona Ryder’s character struggles with a personality disorder.
- Rain Man ( 1988 ) – Tom Cruise & Dustin Hoffman play brothers in this movie that brings Autism to the public eye.
- A Beautiful Mind (2001) – A look at the highly intelligent character, Dr Nash and his battle with paranoid schizophrenia.
Building A Better Church Community
The church community is a network of like-minded peers and we are a ‘family’ in the house of God. The church network does a lot for the congregation, allowing us to love, support, and take care of the sick. Nobody wants to be excommunicated from their family and miss out on this social network of support.
Sadly, the stigma around mental health can affect social life and the wellbeing of those within the church community, often leading to the isolation of the mentally ill person. This may have a detrimental effect on their spiritual walk. While Jesus is the head of the church, we are the body of Christ. We can’t afford to allow a body part to fall away, decay, and play no part in the church community.
Amy Simpson’s quote paints a picture of what it’s like currently like without the support for depression, anxiety, and mental illness in general within the church.
“If you’re pregnant in the church, you get a casserole, if you have a cold, you get a casserole, you get a casserole for everything. You say that if you have mental illness, you don’t get a casserole. What’s the equivalent of a casserole for people with mental illness?” Amy Simpson – Troubled Minds
Trained Christian counsellors, can be beneficial to the church community for creating happy and supported environments that thrive. Christian counsellors have the training and the empathy needed to listen to others without hurting them. Could your church be doing more to support its members and the local community?
If your church is not supporting mental health visit a trained and qualified Christian counsellor for the support you need.