CHICAGO, IL (September 29, 2014) — The positive way Christian churches are increasingly helping people with mental illness and their families is encouraging, says Amy Simpson, an editor for Christianity Today and a featured speaker at North Park University’s upcoming symposium on mental health.
“I think there is movement,” she says. “If we’re not turning a corner then we’re approaching it. That people are talking about mental illness and holding these events where people are able to come and talk about their lives is huge. So I’m encouraged about what’s happening. But still there is a lot of work to do.”
She will speak during the lunch hour at the symposium “Being Present: A Faithful Response to Mental Illness.” The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on November 8 in Anderson Chapel. It is open to healthcare and ministry professionals as well as lay leaders. Tuesday is the deadline for early registration.
Simpson grew up feeling isolated from the church, which did not know how to care for her mother, who has schizophrenia, or her family.
“We are just afraid of mental illness so we walk away from the people,” Simpson says. “It sends the message that our faith isn’t big enough to handle this, that God isn’t big enough to handle this, and because we are Christ’s representatives on earth, people can get the message that God doesn’t care.”
Simpson has written extensively about her experience as a family member as well as more generally about issues related to mental illness. She is the editor of Christianity Today’s GiftedForLeadership.com, senior editor of Leadership Journal, and the author of the award-winning book Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church.
An extended interview with Simpson will appear online in the near future.
The event will also include a series of workshops and a keynote presentation from John Swinton, professor of practical theology and pastoral care at the School of Divinity, Religious Studies, and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
For more information, visit the conference website, email or call (773) 244-6214.