I've been leading the church for almost two years now, and in that time one of the things that has challenged me most is how we help people living with mental health issues. When someone in our community gets cancer, has a heart problem or suffers bereavement I think we all have at least a vague idea how to respond and what we could do to help. But when it comes to mental health issues such as depression, schizophrenia or a personality disorder I for one am much less sure how to respond. I've also found that people affected by mental health issues are much less likely to be open about what is going on, for fear that other people will write them off as being 'mad' or somehow spiritually inferior.
Given all that I was really pleased when Sean Green at Reading Family Church told me recently they were running a day looking at all of this, including seeing what the Bible has to say and how we can best help people facing these issues. More details here on Sean's blog. I'd really encourage anyone either suffering from or supporting someone with a mental health issue to go along as it looks like a really helpful day.