The Stigma of Mental Illness, (we found dog poop in the living room!)


Robin Williams’ recent suicide has risen the awareness of many people. Over 70% who commit suicide are mentally ill.

One out of five Americans will experience a mental disorder during their lifetime.  But, people can get better.  With proper treatment, most people with a mental illness recover quickly, and the majority do not need hospital care, or have only brief admissions.

Mental illness has traditionally been surrounded by community misunderstanding, fear, and stigma.  Stigma towards people with a mental illness has a detrimental effect on their ability to obtain services, their recovery, the type of treatment and support they receive, and their acceptance in the community.

Exactly what is stigma?  Stigma means a mark or sign of shame, disgrace or disapproval, of being shunned or rejected by others.  It emerges when people feel uneasy or embarrassed to talk about behavior they perceive as different.  The stigma surrounding mental illness is so strong that it places a wall of silence around this issue.

It is like hiding the “pile” instead of dealing with it properly.

The effects are damaging to the community as well as to the person will the illness and his/her family and friends.  But at Mental Health agencies and groups all over are working hard to erase the stigma associated with having a mental illness.

In-House-46638176283_xlargeThe emphasis needs to be on supporting and treating people in their own communities, close to their families, friends and familiar surroundings.

Yet discrimination and community misconceptions remain among the most significant barriers to people with a mental illness being able to actively participate in the community and gaining access to the services they need.

But it is not only people with a mental illness who experience discrimination and stigma.  Rejection of people with mental illness inevitably spills over to the caregiver and family members.

Improving community attitudes by increasing knowledge and understanding about mental illness is essential if people with a mental illness are to live in, and contribute to, the community, free from stigma and discrimination.

People with mental problems are our neighbors. They are members of our congregations, members of our families; they are everywhere in this country. If we ignore their cries for help, we will be continuing to participate in the anguish from which those cries for help come. A problem of this magnitude will not go away. Because it will not go away, and because of our spiritual commitments, we are compelled to take action.”

~Rosalynn Carter




Our Great Physician

I wrote this poem the other day for ‘Thankful Thursday’ on my own blog. Knowing that many who visit Broken Believers struggle with illness and pain, I thought this would be good to share here as well.

There are plenty of cracked clay pots around this place, and God is in the business of using and healing cracked pots.

Our Great Physician

Illness comes to everyone –
pain, fever, fatigue, and tears
Chronic or acute, it’s such a trial –
these clay pots we inhabit
are so incredibly fragile
even in the hands of the Potter

But our Great Physician
provides strength, comfort –
Sometimes He brings doctors,
nurses, and medication –
Wisdom and talents used
to do His will, to heal, to mend

Sometimes all it takes
is to touch the hem of His robe –
Like the woman who bled
for twelve long years, outcast
one moment, then healed
completely and wholly

The greatest good –
spiritual health and salvation
for the least of us, for all –
each clay pot used to help others
as grace leaks out of cracks –
Cracks that never seem to heal

Sometimes what the Physician
has in store is our ultimate healing –
A new body, new life eternal
in a place of no more pain,
no tears, energy galore –
as death brings everyone home

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (NIV)

Your Sister in Christ,

Linda K.


Check out Linda’s blog:

A Message from the Playground

Old Merry-Go-Round

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:13, NIV

I was thinking about this today, remembering the playground as a child.  I absolutely understood “the merry-go-round.”  I believed deep-down that it had been invented for just me.  It fit me, very well.  I like pushing around and around, and when it started to get beyond me, I would fling myself on to the spinning platform.

If I made it, the battle was only half-done.  Now, I had not only had to stay on, but I also had to avoid all other kids being spun off.  Just getting to your feet was a major undertaking. As the centrifugal force began to increase, the faster it went, the greater our momentum, and the more kids were thrown off; they tumbled into the mud.  There would be kids strewn all over the place, in heaps, crying. Clothes ripped, and knees bleeding. This wasn’t for ‘the faint of heart.’ This was war!

If somehow, you could make it to the center, you were the king of the “merry-go-round!”  For me at the ripe old age of 7, it was amazing!  I would exult and crow of beating my mechanical nemesis and blowing away the laws of physics.  But there are parallels here (surprise!)

Sometimes, life is a difficult ride.  But I know this.  If I can make it to the center, everything will be ok.  The dynamics of discipleship and mental (or physical) illnesses make it different.  We are all trying to find our way.  We stumble and fall (even hurled into the mud.)  But the center is right were we need to be.  It is the center that compels and calls. We were made for this.

We must continually fight to be at the center.  If you fall off, you can get right back up, and try again.  Nothing gets easier. Everyone scrapes their knees. I think one of the reasons that “heaven” is not talked about on every page of the Bible is we all would ‘mutiny,’ and head for its glorious shores. It’s going to be that good.

We will struggle.  But, we can struggle well with our illnesses if we we know His presence.  I get so my edges are frayed, and I feel like everything around me is dissolving.  My “fight or flight instinct” kicks in, and I feel frantic trying to hold together.  Being mentally ill is like flying a plane that has engine problems.  There is no escape; all you want it to cower and hide.  But you can’t. There is no place to go, but Jesus.

But there is a certain place, and when you battle to get to the center, you will find freedom from the pull of outward things. It is good to rest in Jesus, and abide in the center with him. Spiritually, you have been infused with His presence.  And you rise up!  You now discover that you have wings.

And the ‘merry-go-round’ has served its purpose. aabryscript


%d bloggers like this: