Mind states that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. It also says that 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety and depression in any given week in England.
Despite it being so common, it can still be something that is quite difficult to talk about, not just for the person who is experiencing a mental health problem, but also for those who want help, and who are afraid of saying and doing the wrong thing.
Mental Health and Your Church: A Handbook for Biblical Care, written by Helen Thorne and Dr Steve Midgley, and published by The Good Book Company, is a descriptive, relatable and informative book centred around the topic of mental health and the church. Reading this book allows us to reflect on our own personal experiences with mental health, but also how we can approach this topic helping other people within the church.
“This wise, compassionate and practical book is written by Steve Midgley, who worked in psychiatry and then as a pastor and is now Executive Director of Biblical Counselling UK, and Helen Thorne, Director of Training and Resources at Biblical Counselling UK. It will help readers understand and respond with biblical wisdom to people who are struggling with their mental health.
While acknowledging the importance of liaising responsibly with medics and counsellors, this book focuses on equipping readers to play their part in making churches places where those who struggle with mental-health conditions are welcomed, understood, nurtured and supported: a foretaste of the new creation.
This is a useful book for anyone who cares for others pastorally: pastors, elders, small-group leaders and congregation members.” The Good Book Company.
I found this very honest and brilliantly written book to be an easy read, and as someone who has struggled for many years with my mental health and the crippling effects it brings, I found it to be really helpful and very detailed. A few years ago, I think the biblical care mentioned in this book would have helped me a lot at the time. The book shares first-hand experiences of mental health problems, along with chapters explaining how each person can be supported using a biblical and effective approach, gently encouraging the reader and offering us all the confidence to do just that.
Both authors have a wide experience in supporting those who struggle with their mental health. This is evident throughout the book, as it’s very clear that both authors have a wealth of knowledge of the subject. It’s also clear to see just how passionate both authors are about helping the church help others. This will be a book that I know I’m going to keep referring to time and again, and it’s going to take a prominent place on my bookshelves!
This book is split into three sections under the headings: ‘understanding mental illness’; ‘what can we do?’; and ‘caring in practice’. It delves into different topics such as: ‘developing a biblical understanding of mental illness’; ‘the call to raise awareness’; ‘the call to practically resource’; ‘anxiety, depression, addiction’; and more. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection.
This book would be a great resource for churches to have on their bookshelves, as it provides so much valuable information and insight for both individuals within the congregation and for church staff. It would be a really good tool to be used with small groups too.
It’s refreshing to find a Christian book on the topic of mental health, that not only delves deep into biblical care for those with mental health problems within the church, but explores the churches’ role in supporting and effectively helping those who are struggling. The authors offer an insight into what mental health problems might look like, and it seeks to equip us for how we, as a church, congregation and individuals, can lovingly and biblically help those who are struggling.
“Both of us care passionately about those who struggle with their mental health, and both of us long for our churches to be places where people who struggle in this way will feel welcomed. But it is also our conviction that the calling to care is for the whole congregation of God’s people, and not just pastoral professionals or specialists.”Helen Thorne and Dr Steve Midgley.
This beautifully laid out book also provides further resources including links, courses, devotionals to read, books and more. Over on The Good Book Company’s website, you can find a couple of free handy downloads to use alongside this book, which includes a discussion guide and tips for offering support. You can find these here.
You can purchase a copy of Mental Health and Your Church for under £10 here.
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[This blog post contains affiliate links. I was sent a review copy of this book]