Research across a number of disciplines shows that mental illness is deeply intertwined with a number of social justice issues, namely criminal justice and educational inequity. Therefore, in order to fully address and attempt to deliver justice in our society, one cannot overlook the impact of individual and collective mental health.
From a theological perspective, we are called as Christians to lead and serve like Jesus, who healed disease and sickness (Matthew 9:35), and had compassion for those with mental illness, whom had often been rejected by their communities. We are compelled to operate in love and compassion, and that means creating a better understanding of mental illness, removing the stigma from it, and advocating for support and treatment for individuals and families.
FirstChurch’s Mental Health group currently has four focus areas:
Care for the caregivers: Caring for someone suffering from mental illness can take a toll. This focus narrows in on healthy strategies to survive and thrive, so that caregivers can take care of themselves while simultaneously taking care of others.
Support services for the homeless and underserved mentally ill: The complexities of mental health in any underserved populations are deep and vast. This focus is dedicated to building stronger relationships with case workers and other experts at partner organizations serving these populations, and creating guidelines and training for those who wish to volunteer in organizations serving the mentally ill.
Advocacy for the homeless and underserved mentally ill: While working on the front lines is important, our advocacy model calls for increased attention to root causes. This focus involves taking the information learned from working with partner organizations, and using it in the most appropriate and effective ways to advocate with local, state and federal legislators to enact change.
Mental health education and faith-based collaboration: Mental health is still a misunderstood topic, and hasn’t received adequate attention in faith communities. This focus creates and delivers information and training on issues in mental health, the relationship between religion and mental health, the Christian response to dealing with mental health, and the personal and community response to dealing with trauma.
Want to get involved?
Contact Dr. Ed Nace at 214-683-3565.
Want to explore additional resources?
Mental Health, Mental Illness & the Christian Response (PDF)
Here for Texas – Mental Health Professional Services Database
National Alliance on Mental Illness – North Texas