Christ on the Psych Ward for Your Congregation or Community

Hoping to use Christ on the Psych Ward as an educational resource for your congregation, community, or small group? Keep an eye on this space for study guides, liturgical resources, and more.

These resources will be available when the book is released in mid-March. 


For People in Crisis

If you or someone you know is in a crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. You can find out more about the Lifeline at their website and on the website of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The Lifeline now also has an online chat option.

If you or someone else is experiencing a medical emergency and their life is in immediate danger, call 911.

Also, find out if your community has a mental health crisis response team and if so, how to contact them. 


Websites

Many denominations have begun developing mental health resources for use in congregations—check out the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network

The American Psychiatric Association has a quick and helpful reference resource for pastors and faith leaders. 

I highly recommend Mental Health First Aid training for anyone, but particularly for people like security guards, administrative assistants, church greeters, and others who often end up being “first on the scene” during mental health crises.

There are a number of organizations with peer-to-peer support groups, such as NAMI, Recovery International, and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance . NAMI also has a network specifically for faith communities called NAMI FaithNet. On many college campuses, Active Minds organizes student support and advocacy groups.  


Books

In addition to Christ on the Psych Ward, there are any number of powerful accounts from people with mental health struggles and their family members. Titles that have been particularly helpful for me include An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, by Kay Redfield Jamison; The Noonday Demon: AN Atlas of Depression, by Andrew Solomon; Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family & Church, by Sarah Griffith Lund; Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression and Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith, both by Monica A. Coleman; and Seeing Beyond Depression, by Jean Vanier.

While not explicitly about mental illness per se, the writings of Dr. Brené Brown on shame, vulnerability, and owning our whole stories have been particularly meaningful and important for my journey.

For congregations looking for practical models for ministry, I highly recommend Resurrecting the Person: Friendship and the Care of People with Mental Health Problems, by John Swinton. Sarah Griffith Lund’s Blessed Are the Crazy includes a step-by-step guide to starting a mental health ministry in your church.

Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families, edited by Robert H. Albers, William H. Meller, and Steven D. Thurber, provides pastoral caregivers with a practical guide to the diagnostic categories used by modern day psychiatrists and psychotherapists.

A powerful liturgical resource for churches can be found in Stations of the Cross: Mental Illness, by Mary Button, available from Church Health Resources.