As part of a pastor’s family that was affected by serious mental illness, Amy Simpson brings sensitivity and insight into how churches minister to those with mental illnesses. Her research on the topic formed the basis of her book, “Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission.” Amy is also the author of “Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry” and “Blessed Are the Unsatisfied: Finding Spiritual Freedom in an Imperfect World.”

In Today’s Conversion podcast, which is hosted by NAE President Leith Anderson, you’ll learn:

  • What the most common forms of mental illnesses are in the United States;
  • How social media and Internet use impact the mental health of young people;
  • What roles churches and medicine play in treatment; and
  • How to address the stigma of mental illness in the Church.

Read a Portion of the Transcript

Leith: In partnership with Christianity Today, you conducted a survey of 500 churches to understand what’s going on with mental health in the Church. Out of that, did you find out to what extent pastors are aware that people in the congregations are suffering from mental illnesses?

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Amy: This finding actually surprised me, because based on how our churches typically respond and how much we talk about this in our churches — which is not very much — I was expecting a lower percentage of pastors to be aware of or to admit that mental illness is present within their congregation. But it was actually very high. Ninety-eight percent of pastors were aware of some kind of mental health problem existing within their own congregation. So virtually 100 percent of pastors acknowledged this is present in their churches. But at the same time, only 12.5 percent of them said that mental illness was openly discussed in a healthy way in their church. And, there were other statistics in there that showed there’s a pretty big gap between that level of awareness and the level of response — at least a healthy and productive response — so we have some work to do there.

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Today’s Conversation is brought to you by Fuller Theological Seminary.