I have a friend who has a wide variety of interests. Using the internet, he studied various languages—not because he had to, but because he enjoyed it. And he wrote poetry—compassionate stories about peoples who were unjustly treated. He loves reading the Bible—not just bits and pieces here and there, but lots. He cares about many things.

Yet the average person would not realize he would have such gifts. To see him on the outside, one would never guess there were so many wonderful things going on inside him.

He speaks very loudly—can be heard across a great hall. And he doesn’t stop to take a breath. In fact, it seems like he’s unable to stop once he starts. There’s so much to say.

But his unconventional behavior hides the real person he has inside. There’s pain and struggle. Many avoid him, not knowing how to approach him. They have not yet seen what’s in his heart—a heart that’s hungry for knowledge, a heart that’s hungry for God.

This is my friend—a person I’m getting to know. A friend who has a lot to tell me.

There are many of us with mental health challenges who have active minds, big hearts, and a desire to share.

Many of those who have mental health issues are hungry for God. If they’re going to find wholeness, this hunger needs to be filled. I know this from my own life experience. And I know it from the times I’ve spent in psychiatric facilities. Patients were unashamedly open to reveal their need. Eager to embrace the thought of a God who loves them.

I remember the time in my life when I knew I could no longer live without God. The medications I was taking helped, but weren’t sufficient. I was unable to keep going on my own strength, very much needing Someone to stay close, Someone who would care, despite the many things that were wrong with me.

When I think of what God became for me at that time, and what he is for me now I can see that I could not live without him. It impresses on me the great need for God in the lives of those with mental health issues. It’s a hunger, yes. But it’s more than that. It’s a deep need, a must-have, a can’t do without. This hunger has to be filled, not only for our spiritual well-being, but also for good mental health.

Some of us are tormented by chaotic thoughts and feelings. We need the peace that only God can give. Others are filled with a darkness that will not let go. We need his light.

Our souls are hungry—alone and lonely with illness of the mind. Understood by few, kept at a distance by many. We need to know the love of God. We who suffer need to be reminded of him by those who also know what it is to suffer. By those who can be Christ’s representatives for us.

We mustn’t forget the countless people on our doorstep who have illnesses that, through no fault of their own, may include a poverty of the spirit. They need to hear God’s message. Is the news of God’s love reaching their ears? God’s love and peace and hope are essential for their well-being. Essential for giving their life the completeness everyone should have. Essential for them to feel they belong in this world in the way others belong. Essential to know they are God’s children.

But how can you reach them? How can you supply people who have mental health challenges with spiritual food to suit their specific needs? You can reach them, one at a time. One way is through this series. I hope you continue exploring it and learn what you can do In the Name of Jesus.

Devotional writings are available to help strengthen them and remind them of God’s presence. A collection of my devotionals can be downloaded free of charge. I hope you’ll have a look and enjoy browsing through what’s there.