Research suggests that one in five adults and one in six children will struggle with some form of mental illness in a given year. On top of this, many Christians struggle silently with mental illness, afraid to speak of it with their pastor, family or friends.
In 2019, the Synod convention passed Resolution 3-04A, a call to the LCMS to prepare and distribute materials for pastors, church workers and members of LCMS congregations to better understand and help those facing mental illness. To assist in this work, the LCMS formed a mental health task force.
In conjunction with this task force, the February issue of The Lutheran Witness discusses mental health in the Lutheran congregation. It addresses the stigmas surrounding mental health, provides guidance on how to find a therapist and outlines what a congregation should expect from its pastor in supporting members’ mental health.
LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison writes in his article: “While we certainly have room for improvement, the LCMS has made great strides in providing for the mental health of her people through all of her great certified counselors, agencies, compassionate congregations and especially those pastors and teachers who, by the thousands, provide mercy, spiritual care and referrals to professional help. The LCMS is a mental health powerhouse, such as we are, even under the cross.”
In addition, the issue includes the story of the Rev. Michael and Sue Kasting. Sue was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and Michael shares how he learned to care for her and come to grips with this new reality while navigating the fatigue and challenges of being a caregiver. The story is an abridged version of a longer one available at witness.lcms.org.
Visit cph.org/witness to order a copy of the February issue of The Lutheran Witness, which will help you understand mental health from a Lutheran perspective.
Posted Feb. 20, 2023
—the stigmas surrounding mental health??
I am not in favor of falling under the influence of those taught or teaching there is a stigma to mental health issues. I see no value in falling under their spell.
Harold A Maio