Serving People with Mental Illness
My “uncle Sonny” has schizophrenia. He’s a wonderful man with tremendous mental illness. So, I was glad to see this short clip and TED talk from Elyn Saks. Elyn Saks is a professor of law, psychology and psychiatry at USC Gould School of Law, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship winner and the author of The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (Hyperion, 2007). She spoke at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh, UK, in June.
Here’s Elyn Saks’ presentation at TEDGlobal.
These videos interest me, in part, because of my uncle’s battles and, in part, because many of us pastor people with mental illnesses, including schizophrenia. I hope we’ll all continue to love such people deeply and seek to get the clinical and professional help needed.
Here’s another illustration of how mental illness can reduce otherwise productive, loving people to people in serious need. It’s the story of ‘Pop’ Herring, Michael Jordan’s high school basketball coach. Thomas Lake writes an open letter to Jordan wondering why the NBA Hall of famer hasn’t offered any help to his former coach and chronicling in empathetic fashion the compounding problems Herring faces due to schizophrenia. Moving.
Mental illness has for too long been stigmatized, even among helping professionals and clergy. May the Lord grant us grace to overcome the stigma and to be a means of practical help and love.