If good can come out of the agony surrounding Matthew Warren’s tragic suicide, it’s that it forces the church to think through its response to mental illness and how to care better for those who suffer with it. I’m hugely encouraged by some of the initial responses to this terrible loss, and hope that it may mark a significant turning point in the church’s understanding of these complex issues, and turn the hearts and minds of many Christians to this large though often neglected and despised group in our churches and communities. Further to my post yesterday on 7 Questions about Suicide and Christians, here are some of the most outstanding posts I’ve read in the last 24 hours or so.

How Churches can respond to mental illness
Ed Stetzer with a nicely balanced piece on what the church can do for those suffering with mental illness.

When a loved one takes his life
Timothy Dalrymple relates some of his own struggles and concludes: “When I was a child, I believed that God looked at suicides with anger.  I don’t believe that anymore.  I think he looks on those who commit suicide with great compassion.  They have not had an easy go of life.  And for those who have given their lives to God, there is no deed, even a final deed committed in despair, that can separate them from his love.”

Can a Christian get depressed?
Christian author, Adrian Warnock, a psychiatrist by training, answers the question, “Why do some Christians feel that Christians should not get depressed?”

The Asphyxiation of Hope
Michael Patton attempts to describe the indescribable, and comes as close to it as anyone I’ve read.

Matthew Warren, His Family, and Guidelines for the Rest of Us
Some strongly stated Don’ts and one simple Do.

Someone you love is deathly sad and you don’t even know it
This one will sensitize you to the suffering of those who may be under your own roof.

How do we as a church respond to mental illness?
Singer Sheila Walsh’s father committed suicide and she has suffered with deep depression also. Two very moving interviews with her here and here.

Lets stop keeping mental illness a secret
“For years, we’ve reserved the term “mental illness” for only the most extreme cases, but 26% of us in any given year suffer from depression, anxiety and a serious number of other mental illnesses, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a dirty little secret few people want to talk about, a devastating statistic implying that, in each of our families, we all care for someone who faces this pain.”

  • Pastor Dianne Young

    Join us in Memphis, Tennessee for the 6th National Suicide and the Black Church Conference, June 12-13, 2013, at the University of Tennessee, 800 Madison Ave., Memphis, TN 38118. Our church has hosted these Conferences since 2003. It was our response to a suicide on the grounds of our church by a overwhelmed and depressed member. The interest has increased and the information received is incredible to help save lives. We welcome more soldiers to sound the alarm! This is a very important issue in our society.

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  • http://www.danielspratlin.com Daniel Spratlin

    David, thank you for aggregating some great resources and attempting to shine a light on a real problem within our churches. We must end the shame associated with mental illnesses. The church MUST be a safe place for those of us that suffer from these diseases.

    I wrote a bit about my struggle with depression and on the death of Matthew Warren on my blog, I would appreciate it if you could read it when you get the chance. I pray that it might help someone out there.

    http://danielspratlin.com/2013/04/matthew-warren-and-the-effects-of-suicide/

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Thanks for sharing your article, Daniel. I read it and was deeply moved. May God bless you, keep you and cause his face to shine upon you, and give you peace.

  • http://www.iwokeupyesterday.com jenny

    thank you David. I have such deep respect for you and your heart. to be heard on your behalf is quite an honor. after reading so much yesterday, my heart just breaks. there are so many “well meaning” and harmful believers out there NOT giving grace and compassion, kicking the Warren family down when they could not be further down. and believers, or non believers, need to stay quiet, get educated first, and then speak on what they have NOT yet experienced. i am grateful for my personal experiences with mental illness, a twin sister with bi-polar, in and out of rehabs and institutions for years of our adult life, a dad who was committed three times over his adult life, and myself and my husband, both in MINISTRY, who have battled depression, AND used medication as a tool for God to allow healing to take place in our lives. thank you for your powerful voice

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Thanks Jenny. I appreciate your own voice on this too.

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