Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mental Health in the Church: Suggestions for Leaders

(Thank you for your kindness, understanding and inspiration Jeff)

There is a serious issue that I'd like to raise, especially for you who are or who will be leaders in the Church. The issue is mental illness. Very few of us have had any training in recognizing and dealing with mental illness, but there is a great need. I would especially urge bishoprics, Relief Society presidents, and other leaders to learn about mental illness and look for its symptoms. Stake leaders, it may be helpful to provide more training about mental from competent sources for your leaders so they can better deal with the many forms of mental illness that afflict some of our members.

I think my biggest surprises when I was a bishop came from experiences with those who suffered from various forms of mental illness. Some had kept their suffering hidden for years without ever getting help, but how much help was needed all that time. The most serious problems involved those who had been abused as children. I could spend hours writing about what a hell sexual abuse creates for its victims, and how it can inflict such terrible and lasting harm on the human mind. For example, I am absolutely convinced of the reality of multiple personality disorder (an amazing way for the mind to protect itself in the worst of times). Dealing with it in depth as a frightened and inexperienced bishop was one of my most painful and rewarding experiences, a journey that showed me in profound ways just how loving and real and merciful our Savior is, and how great His love is for those who have suffered the most. CLICK TO CONTINUE READING HERE...

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