Mental Illness and Addictions: Another Necessary Conversation

2016, 1:57:56 min
According to the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem in a life time. People with mental illness are twice as likely to have a substance use problem compared to the general population. 60% of people with mental health problems have addiction issues; 60% of people with addiction issues also have a mental health concern. We need to see these together. Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada and in any given week, at least 500,000 employed Canadians are unable to work due to mental health problems.

The need is great. Almost a third of Canadians who seek mental health care report that their needs are unmet or partially met. Due to the stigma surrounding addictions and mental illness, people may not readily share their struggles or seek help. A pastor may be the first one turned to by individuals or families. Congregations and families need to know how to respond. How do we walk with families so that they can understand their family member? What changes may they want to make so that the family member is not alienated but finds the congregation and family a place of support and appropriate challenge to dysfunctional behaviours?

Church leaders need to be able to recognize and respond compassionately and effectively in such situations. David Gingerich and Brice Balmer share from their personal and professional wisdom on the subjects of mental illness and addictions and how they are interconnected.

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