How To Minister To The Mentally Ill

This is an article that was written by Rachel in 2008. Rachel lives with Bipolar II disorder and has a gift for communicating.  What she shares here is what this blog is all about. Her blog is located  HERE and hasn’t been active for some time but what’s there is worth your time.

March 3, 2008

This came out of a conversation on another blog, and I thought it might make a good post. I’m only writing from my perspective and experience. So, not everyone suffering from mental illness will agree with me. If you don’t please comment and let me know where I got it wrong.

How to minister more effectively? Big question! I think first, we need to seek to make ourselves and our churches welcoming for those that are mentally ill, or otherwise suffering. Church should be a place where people can share their struggles in these areas without fear of prejudice or judgment, but so often it isn’t. We are all so busy pretending to have it all together out of fear of what others will think that we never realize that everyone is struggling with something! We can only minister to the ill and struggling if we know of their condition!

Further, if we really have a desire to minister to those with specific illness, we should research that illness. We should learn about how it works, its symptoms, its treatment, the side effects of treatment, etc. the only way to truly understand of course is to go through it yourself, but I think people would be surprised by how much they can learn from research and how it could equip them as they try to understand. Then just ask the person how they are impacted by their illness. What it feels like, how it impacts their life, etc. I know for me, I’ve always appreciated people that really sought to understand, that really tried to get it.

I also think that a lot of times, the one that seeks to minister is really going to have to seek in order to minister. A lot of us are the sheep that have wandered off. I know for me, when I am feeling the worst, my desire for isolation is highest. For all of my friends it should be a big sign that I’m not well when I fall off the radar. Even when I logically know I shouldn’t, I withdraw, and find myself unable to really think rationally enough to resist withdrawing. So, I need people who will call me, and not wait for me to call them. It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how abandoned I’ve felt in my illness. On more than one occasion I didn’t hear from my closest friends or anyone at my church for months. I even sent out a panicked email to a few friends once about falling into depression again and asking for prayer, only to receive no response.

And just listening is HUGE. I know that people are sometimes afraid to reach out because they worry about saying the wrong thing. Well, sometimes, you don’t need to say anything–just listen and be physically there. Even if you say the wrong thing, if you do it from a place of humility, love and a genuine care, most of the time that is what will come across to the person and it will mitigate anything “wrong” you might have said.

I know this territory is woefully uncharted in the realm of Christianity. Perhaps prayer that more writing and teaching would occur in this area would be a start. I guess that’s another way the local church could help: sermons that touch on the reality of mental illness and that while depression, etc. might sometimes be a spiritual problem, it’s often a physical one, and it’s not something to be ashamed of.

I hope this might help someone.

Glen Campbell’s Daughter Ashley Details Dad’s Declining Health

Taken from Rolling Stone Magazine  which is found   HERE.

On Sunday, June 28th at 9:00 p.m. ET, CNN will exclusively broadcast the profoundly moving documentary film, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, a revealing look back at the phenomenal career of Campbell, who went from in-demand L.A. session guitarist to pop-country superstar around the world thanks to such iconic hits as “Gentle on My Mind,” “Galveston” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Among his fellow performers who comment on Campbell’s influence are Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Brad Paisley, John Carter Cash, Sheryl Crow, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and U2 guitarist The Edge. Campbell’s final recording, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” won a Grammy for Best Country Song earlier this year. Campbell and the song’s co-writer, Julian Raymond, were also nominated for an Oscar for the emotional tune.

Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me is a heartbreaking but celebratory document of the musician’s final album and his Goodbye Tour, which expanded from a five-week trek to 151 sold-out shows in an 18-month period, yet at its core, the film bravely details the Campbell family’s coming to grip with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, as the performer’s children, including Ashley, Shannon and Cal, who were members of his touring band, rally together in support of their dad, just as the Country Music Hall of Fame member’s fans and friends have done, especially since his diagnosis was first revealed.

“It’s a great way to get the message out there,” Campbell’s daughter, Ashley Campbell, tells Rolling Stone Country of I’ll Be Me. “The film is definitely not what you think of when you think of a documentary about Alzheimer’s. I think the beauty of it is that my dad is such a personable person. He’s so charismatic and funny and just real, and it really shines through in this film. He puts a real human face on this disease that a lot of people are dealing with that we don’t really hear about it a lot in the media. That’s the conversation we’re hoping to start, that it’s real and it happens to people we love and that we need to personalize it.”

Included in the film is a historic stop in Washington, D.C., during which the Campbell family testified before Congress, lobbying members for more research funding for a cure and meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

Acknowledging the widespread effect Alzheimer’s has had on millions around the globe, Ashley says, “Everyone goes through a similar process and through this ongoing grief that happens as we take care of our loved ones with Alzheimer’s. When people see the film they talk to me afterwards, they’re just so relieved that it’s not just them going through these things. They’re not alone in this.”

Although she reveals that her father, who is currently at a memory care facility in Nashville, is progressing into the late stages of the disease, Ashley says her dad is physically very healthy, adding, “He’s calm most of the time, which is kind of all you can ask for in the late stages, that he’s calm, content and happy and feels a lot of love in his life. Because he has aphasia, he can’t really communicate very well. He doesn’t really understand anything that anyone tells him anymore and he can’t communicate with us very well. But he understands body language and sometimes very small words.

While the aphasia has robbed Campbell of the ability to communicate, his daughter says he still comprehends things such as like hugs and taste and sometimes even music, although the latter can prove difficult.

“Overall, he’s just very happy and content in his own world and we just love hanging out with him. It’s all we can ask for,” she explains. “At least he’s not aggravated and scared and confused all the time. He’s happy and content and smiles most of the time. He still makes jokes and likes to play around, even though the jokes don’t make any sense and it’s gibberish; he still goes through the motions and it’s still him. Like, he’ll take a French fry and start smoking it like a cigar and give us all that ‘joke’ face. He likes to fake you out like he’s handing you something, when you reach out for it he pulls it back and just laughs. He still likes to make people laugh.”

In spite of tabloid reports of a rift between Campbell’s wife and family and his older children from previous marriages, Ashley insists that unlike some of those stories have suggested, “No family member has ever been denied a visit to my dad. Sometimes we have restrictions as far as for his privacy and safety, like restricting photos taken or items brought in, but no family member has ever been denied.

“We have some family members who don’t understand the disease and what he’s going through and like to make a fuss,” she continues. “What they don’t know is what they’re doing is a disservice to their dad and to people with Alzheimer’s everywhere and their families dealing with it. What I will say to any negativity that’s being spread out there by whomever and whenever, is that he is surrounded by love and he is getting the best care possible. He’s not missing out on anything. He’s being taken care of by people that love him and are making sure he has everything he needs.”

In addition to the broadcast of the documentary, has created and curated content related to Alzheimer’s and its impact on people and families. There are medical facts about the disease, a digital short film about one man’s “cruel journey” with Alzheimer’s, and a look into Campbell’s own experience through excerpts from the film. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will also report for a digital series on the latest progress in Alzheimer’s research. Following the film, a custom public service message about advances in Alzheimer’s medical research will be presented and CNN’s Impact Your World will gather resources for families and sufferers of Alzheimer’s online.

Two days before the film’s TV debut, on Friday, June 26th, at 12:00 p.m. ET, Campbell’s wife, Kim, and CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen will answer questions on Facebook, allowing users to share their questions about the disease and the challenges facing families and loved ones with relatives suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Since participating in the documentary, Ashley Campbell has signed to Dot Records, the rejuvenated Nashville label under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella. Her first single, “Remembering,” which she wrote as a tribute to her dad, comes out in early July and is also featured in the film and on the soundtrack.

Campbell says her LP, which she will be recording later this year, will be driven by two main elements: songs she has written in the last couple of years and, of course, plenty of banjo, including an instrumental written and performed with her godfather, legendary banjo picker Carl Jackson. A release date for the new album has yet to be announced.

Refusing to Accept the Way Things Are: Making a Difference With Schizophrenia

Taken from the Huffington Post which is found   HERE.

As many as half of those ill with schizophrenia do not receive any treatment, at all (1,2). Yet schizophrenia is a serious and persistent mental illness affecting millions of Americans, and impairing their functioning, diminishing their quality of life and — if untreated — contributing to disability, suicide, homelessness and violence.

Schizophrenia was named over 100 years ago; its Greek roots mean “split mind.” At the time, the term meant to convey a mind battered by ambivalence and besieged by hallucinations and delusions. For centuries, people with this illness were separated from their families and communities. Many spent their lives in mental hospitals where they were subject to inhumane conditions. Phillipe Pinel, a French psychiatrist, famously let those with this (and other forms of) mental illness out of their chains in Parisian hospitals over 200 years ago.

As I described in a recent Opinion column (A Secret Worth Sharing), considerable attention and money is being invested to identify schizophrenia at its early stages and intervene with a set of treatments that can reduce disability over the lifetime of those affected. But this focus on the beginning of psychotic illness, as critical and welcome as it is, does not help those already ill and their families. Nor does it address the social and financial consequences of an illness that goes unabated as a result of not obtaining effective treatments and social supports.

That was the reason for calling together some 25 scientists, clinicians, researchers, patient and family advocates and government representatives to address the question:What Really Makes a Difference in the Lives of People with Schizophrenia?

With the support of an Ohio philanthropy dedicated to psychiatry, an often unattended area of medical and social philanthropy (the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation), this invited group was cloistered at a meeting site at the Cold Springs Harbor Lab in Long Island, NY. We were asked to try to answer this fundamental question and offer realistic direction for making a difference (I was a participant at the meeting).

Solving complex problems that have eluded remedy for ages is not for the faint-hearted. It means finding both capable people and the will to refuse to accept the status quo. It means not looking for single or simple answers, since if those existed they would have emerged long ago. It means expecting participants (and those they influence) to rise above their respective disciplines and ideologies to identify what can be done, despite however hard that might be. It might mean a certain degree of professional risk to go where others have not. It means fashioning alliances among diverse groups of professionals and lay groups, including experts in GSD (Getting S__t Done). It means making consumers (people with the illness) and their families central to the problem solving.

Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies (and its recent 3 part PBS documentary rendering) is an extraordinary tale. It is a heartening story of the struggle that underlies both discovery and implementation in science and policy. Yet with all due respect, if cancer is the Emperor, then mental illness may be the Zeus of disorders, the otherworldly power that also comes from within and, generation after generation, can destroy body and soul, because of its great prevalence, variation, profound suffering, mortality (from early death and suicide), family, social and financial burden, and long history of prejudice and discrimination.

After two and a half days of early morning to early evening unbroken discussion about what really matters some consensus emerged. These ideas below reflect my views, not necessarily those of the group:

– First episode psychosis work has taught us that what works is serving people in their natural environments, attending closely to their personal recovery goals, rigorously involving families (whenever possible), helping individuals go/return to work or school, reducing their use of legal and illegal substances, addressing their general healthcare needs, and the prudent use of medications (not too many or too much). We need to find ways to take those principles of good practice and apply them in the care of people with schizophrenia throughout their lifetime, regardless of their background or location.

– Measurement-based care, the use of clear and understandable (to the person affected) measures of illness and functioning needs to become a standard for psychiatric practice. In general medicine we routinely measure blood pressure, HgA1c, lipids, the size and shape of tumors, cardiac artery flow, etc. That same standard of care must be applied to mental health and addiction conditions. While the field does not yet have blood or imaging tests worthy of prime time, it has many self- and clinician reports that are highly valid and reliable. How else will we turn impressions about whether care is working into actual, quantitative measures by which to judge improvement?

– Make technology our friend. The growing shortages of mental health professional staff, especially psychiatrists, and reaching people in rural areas insists that we use technology. And not just telepsychiatry but wearable and portable devices by which people are aided to manage their conditions and follow treatments (e.g., reminders, scripts for handling triggers, cues that they are beginning to relapse, personalized graphs and messages that chart progress and instill hope).

– Grow the use of what are called “peer” services, namely people with illness well into their recovery who are trained to help others with similar illnesses. Peer services are critical in engaging and retaining people with schizophrenia in care; if they don’t show up, and don’t follow their recovery plan they are not apt to get better.

– Combine treatments (and deliver them in a continuous manner). Use treatments with good proof (evidence) but allow for innovation. Skill building in social and work areas, combined with cognitive techniques to manage paranoia, combined with medications, combined with family education and support, combined with outreach to help people stay engaged are more effective than any one approach alone. The fields of infectious disease and cancer have learned that combined treatments work better, particularly when they are tailored to the person’s unique circumstances and preferences. Mental health (and addiction services) need to make that approach universal, not accidental. Let’s find out more by trying, and learning, not by waiting and making excuses.

– Find and recruit people, centers, groups who will pursue implementation way beyond being “champions.” The degree of difficulty and vested interests in the status quo calls for (reasonable) zealots to succeed.

– Insist on goals for patients, families and clinicians. Develop goals with those whose lives are at stake, namely patients and families. Humans have a great tendency to do what is needed to get what they want, so let’s capitalize on that.

Providing (and sustaining) hope and believing in human resilience underlay all these approaches. Unless caregivers believe that a life can be lived with illness — and one with dignity, relationships and contribution — then the battle is lost from the start. But hope, insistence, persistence, and doing more of what we know works are the embers to fan if we are to make a difference in the lives of people with schizophrenia.

Streams In The Desert: June 27th, 2015

The Lord hath sent strength for thee Psalms 68:28

The Lord imparts unto us that primary strength of character which makes everything in life work with intensity and decision. We are “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” And the strength is continuous; reserves of power come to us which we cannot exhaust.

“As thy days, so shall thy strength be”—strength of will, strength of affection, strength of judgment, strength of ideals and achievement.

“The Lord is my strength” to go on. He gives us power to tread the dead level, to walk the long lane that seems never to have a turning, to go through those long reaches of life which afford no pleasant surprise, and which depress the spirits in the sameness of a terrible drudgery.

“The Lord is my strength” to go up. He is to me the power by which I can climb the Hill Difficulty and not be afraid.

“The Lord is my strength” to go down. It is when we leave the bracing heights, where the wind and the sun have been about us, and when we begin to come down the hill into closer and more sultry spheres, that the heart is apt to grow faint. I heard a man say the other day concerning his growing physical frailty, “It is the coming down that tires me!”

“The Lord is my strength” to sit still. And how difficult is the attainment! Do we not often say to one another, in seasons when we are compelled to be quiet, “If only I could do something!”

When the child is ill, and the mother stands by in comparative impotence, how severe is the test! But to do nothing, just to sit still and wait, requires tremendous strength.

“The Lord is my strength!” “Our sufficiency is of God”  2 Corinthians 3:5. from The Silver Lining

Praise & Worship: June 26th, 2015

1.  The World Needs Jesus-  Malcolm & Alwyn

2.  The Wedding Song-  Noel Paul Stookey

3.  How Can It Be-  Lauren Daigle

4.  Asleep In The Light-  Keith Green

5.  I Don’t Want To Fall Away From You-  Keith Green

6.  Holy Holy Holy-  Maranatha Music

7.  Creed-  Rich Mullins

8.  Dancing In The Mine Fields-  Andrew Peterson

9.  Hurting People  Erick Nelson & Michelle Pillar

10.  When I Look At The Blood-  Godfrey Birtill

11.  They Throne Oh God-  Kelly Willard

9 Facts About Eating Disorders That May Surprise You

Taken from yahoo  which is found   HERE.

Eating disorders, which were all the buzz in the 80s, may make for a hot headline these days if a celebrity is spotted looking like a waif, or if extreme eating restrictions spread throughout a school or a ballet company. Although anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating disorders don’t seem to currently be as popular as cleanses, when it comes to these severe medical and emotional problems, no news is not good news.

Just because a subject doesn’t make it to the tabloids doesn’t mean it isn’t happening in your own town, on your block — or perhaps even in your own home.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million women and 10 million men in the U.S. will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder or an eating disorder not otherwise specified. Moreover, there are millions who struggle with disordered eating behaviors but may not be diagnosed as readily because their outward appearance or symptoms are not as obvious. Their suffering is no less dangerous or destructive.

I once heard an overweight patient say, “I wish I had a little anorexia,” but she didn’t realize what her wish would bring. Side effects of this disorder include an abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure to conserve energy and keep the heart from working too hard. Teens and millennials with anorexia could have bones that resemble those of the elderly due to a reduction in bone density presenting as early osteoporosis. Muscle weakness, dehydration, fatigue and severe nutrient deficiencies are just a few of the side effects of a severely restrictive diet.

Bulimia can lead to serious gastrointestinal consequences, including inflammation, erratic bowel movements, peptic ulcers and possible rupture of the esophagus, along with irregular heart beat, electrolyte imbalances and erosion of tooth enamel, all potentially brought on by vomiting.

Earlier this year, NEDA, in conjunction with 12 other* prominent eating disorder treatment, advocacy and research groups, established a list of nine universal “truths” about eating disordersto help debunk misinformation, raise awareness and encourage early treatment. Myths surrounding eating disorders often lead to shame and secretive behaviors that could destroy relationships and worse yet, destroy lives.

The following nine “truths” about eating disorders may surprise you:

Truth No. 1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.

Truth No. 2: Families are not to blame and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.

Truth No. 3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.

Truth No. 4: Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.

Truth No. 5: Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations and socioeconomic statuses.

Truth No. 6: Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.

Truth No. 7: Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.

Truth No. 8: Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.

Truth No. 9: Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.

For further information or for treatment referrals, visit or contact NEDA’s live helpline at 800-931-2237.

* In addition to NEDA, other organizations adopting “9 Truths” include: Academy for Eating Disorders; Binge Eating Disorder Association; Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action; Eating Disorder Parent Support Group; Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders; International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Foundation; International Eating Disorder Action; Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association; National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders; Residential Eating Disorders Consortium; Project HEAL; and Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders.