How does God want believers to respond to the mentally ill? I thought about this question once again as I read an article about the closing of Dorothea Dix Hospital.
Over the past few years issues have emerged concerning the closing of Dorothea Dix Hospital that is located in Raleigh, NC. Patients are admitted to Dorthea Dix Hospital following a court appointed decision that an individual needs further psychiatric treatment.
Right now patients at Dorothea Dix Hospital are being transported to Central Regional Hospital in Butner. Also, some are reporting that additional changes may be made in the care of the mentally ill in North Carolina. I fear that closing Dorothea Dix hospital will prove to be a poor decision.
These recent decisions concerning Dorothea Dix Hospital are very much political, but my question remains: How does God want believers to reach out to the mentally ill?
Various degrees of mental illness do affect many people, even those within the church. I encourage believers to seek out ways to be the presence of Christ to those who have a mental illness. You may feel uncomfortable, and you may feel unqualified. Still God desires for us to minister to the mentally ill and to advocate for their rights.
The stigma that often accompanies mental illness brings unnecessary shame to those suffering from mental illnesses and their families. In moments of crisis families should be able to turn to their church family, but often the church family judges the family in crisis, ignores the situation, or isolates the mentally ill from the congregation.
I pray that no mater where the mentally ill in North Carolina and beyond are treated that they will be treated with respect and compassion. I pray that they will be given the proper physical and psychological care that is necessary for their holistic treatment.
Especially in the absence of Dorothea Dix Hospital, believers should be the presence of Christ to those who have physical, spiritual, and psychological needs.