by Rozella Haydée White, LEAD Consultant

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness. In 2012, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a social message on the Body of Christ and Mental Illness, developed to “raise awareness of the challenges of mental illness, offer reflection and direction, and inspire action.” This resource is a wonderful tool that explores faith, societal, and theological frameworks in order to begin conversations in your local community.

As a faith-based organization, LEAD understands that the work we do and the initiatives we create flow from our core values and convictions, which are directly informed by our theological lens.

“The mental and emotional pain of mental illness could be one of the most far-reaching issues the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) encounters. A study by the ELCA found 16 percent of male clergy and 24 percent of female clergy to be suffering from depression.”

As we engage #mentalillnessmonday, it’s important to note that we are particularly concerned with addressing the reality of mental illness in our faith communities and among our leaders. We are not immune to mental illness and we have to deconstruct the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness.

Have you engaged the ELCA’s social message, “The Body of Christ and Mental Illness?” It’s not just for people from Lutheran backgrounds; it’s a resource to anyone wanting to faithfully reflect and and respond to prevalent issues in our society. A study guide was designed to encourage further reflection and discussion.