This course explores ministry within the church to those with severe mental illness: Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder and Personality Disorders. Mental illness is very prevalent in our churches. 1 in 5 have some form of mental illness and 1 in 20 have severe mental illness. (Mental Health Conditions | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness) Learners will examine the difference between the more common mental illnesses and severe mental illness, and the efficacy of treatment for mental illness.
Learners will also explore their own personal biases and misinformation towards those with mental illness and the church’s response. Some common concerns are that mental illness is contagious (suicide begets suicide), dangerous, the person is possessed or is sick because they are sinful.
This course delves into the reasons behind stigmatization of those with mental illness and the struggles often experienced during ministry to this particular group. Mental Health issues intersect with many ministries as those with severe mental illness experience housing instability, addiction, food, etc. as the church strives to minister “to the least of these”.
Finally, learners will have the opportunity to share their own best practices and explore additional options to minister to those with severe mental illness.
Learners will need to obtain this book: Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission by Amy Simpson
This course is eligible for 1.0 CEU.
Number of weeks: 2
Required books: Yes
Certification or Series: No
Read course description for details.
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About the Instructor
Jasmine Ray-Symms holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences (Psychology and Sociology) and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership. She is actively involved in the ministry of her local church and is a member of the Abundant Health Team for the Oregon-Idaho Conference and the Mental Health Task Force for Disability Ministries for the United Methodist Church. She hosts a blog where she writes on her experiences with schizoaffective disorder, LGBTQ, and addiction through the lens of her faith at: www.jasmineraysymms.com. Her ministry passion is to help people overcome the struggles in their life through compassion, empathy, and empowerment.
Past Learners Said…
“I would advise anyone in churches today to take the course. The mentally ill and their families are very much a part of our lives. Raise Awareness! Learn! Reach out!”