I am concerned. Because I, and others with mental health conditions, are not being heard.

Although I’m not a trained counselor or pastor, I have known Jesus for a very long time, especially close to him during times of suffering. Through him and the words he has given me, I have helped many find healing.

A few years ago God called me to be a voice for people with mental health challenges. Because they’re not being heard.

I was heard well in the years between 2000 and 2015—asked to speak and to write about what God had done for me in my life with bipolar disorder. I was heard by hundreds. People got a positive view about how God could work in a life with mental illness.

Why is no one willing to listen to me today when I have an important message of God’s call on our lives—on all of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus?

This message has to come through.

Jesus calls us to understand the pain of stigmatized people—something that has for too long been ignored—considered unimportant. He calls us to address that pain and help those affected  find healing. This pain can be great—incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it.

Why is the Church so eager to reduce the stigma of mental illness by learning about it? Why are they not addressing the pain it causes?

Jesus did not come to teach us about leprosy and blindness and this is not what he calls us to do. He asks us to follow him and bring healing to stigmatized people of today in the way he brought healing to the outcasts of his day.

Spiritual support with a focus on Jesus, who he is, and what he can do for us, can bring the healing needed to bring greater confidence and a more complete life.

By giving spiritual support, followers of Christ have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people who have long suffered rejection—people who haven’t felt they fit in anywhere.  God is calling us to this work that Jesus started long ago. This is what it means to follow Jesus in the true sense of the word.

Following Jesus means to break through the fear that causes us to avoid people we see as different. It means accepting them, being kind, and listening to them. It means encouraging them as Jesus would, comforting them when they need it,  reminding  them that God is really there. For a struggling person, there’s nothing like having a friend tell you—with firm conviction—that “God loves you and you need to believe that!”