Fixing Our System: Takeaways From the 2015 Gathering on Mental Health and the Church
"Mental health could be the Civil Rights Movement of the next decade," said Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. When it comes to mental health in the United States, our system is broken. Nearly 40,000 Americans lose their lives to suicide each year, which is almost twice as many deaths caused by homicide. Fifty percent of health care issues arise before age 14, and 75 percent begin by age 24. About 61.5 million Americans, or one in four adults, experience mental illness in a year.
Founders of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, Rick and Kay Warren, lost their son Matthew Warren to suicide at 27, so they have sought to learn everything they can about mental illness. Rick Warren, who mentioned, "It is not a sin to be sick," helps educate the community about mental health through his conference, the Gathering on Mental Health & the Church.
Dr. Glenda Wrenn, director of Behavioral Health for Morehouse School of Medicine's Satcher Health Leadership Institute, said, "Part of fighting the stigma of mental illness is having complex narratives." She added that fighting the stigma starts by sharing stories.