Carlene Hill Byron brings the full circle of mental health care to the church in this book. Her experiences as a mental health patient, advocate, writer, and researcher provide excellent facts and examples for what she shares.
Byron explains the evolution of increased mental health needs over the past decade, including the needs of church attenders and the effects of COVID. She takes a closer look at our affluent culture's effects on mental health and explains what we, as sisters and brothers in Christ, can do to support those among us who live with mental health challenges.
The professional counselor and the medical professional can have important roles in the lives of many who live with mental health problems. But God has equipped the caring Christian friend and congregation for their own critical roles, even when professional care is available. (p. 58)
Just showing up for someone who is struggling is something anyone can do. You don't need a degree do to so, Byron notes. Throughout the book, Byron explains core areas of care that do not require a professional license and can be significantly helpful to folks coping with mental health challenges. Examples include helping people find meaning and purpose, helping people recognize the value God finds in them, and helping people experience belonging.
Not Quite Fine is a good resource for Sunday school classes, small groups, and leadership groups. A free study guide by Lianne G. MacGregor is available at HeraldPress.com/study-guides. Reading this book is an excellent first step for churches to take in learning more about and responding to mental health concerns.
Bonnie Miller is the mother of a young adult with cerebral palsy and has 27 years of experience in elementary/early childhood education: twelve years in general education and fifteen years in special education. She has been involved in IEP annual conferences as both a parent and a teacher. At both school and church, Bonnie works to make classrooms barrier-free for children with a variety of disabilities. Bonnie has advocated for disabled members in her congregation and enjoys brainstorming ways to help every child experience full inclusion with their peers. Bonnie is currently serving as a Field Associate for ADN.