Word about me as a person who could speak about mental health and faith issues started to spread. In 2005, shortly after joining the Brentwood Park congregation, the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA, BC Div.) asked me to write about mental illness and the Church. This marked the beginning of work I would be doing—not only speaking to churches about mental health, but also speaking to secular audiences about the importance of faith to our well-being.

In 2005 I wrote Mental Disorder: The Result of Sin? And in November 2006, my online article, The Church as Supporter was published.

I was passionate about the role I felt Christians and their Church should have and used my blog to speak from my heart:

To have people who are supposedly following Christ, cause this shame is more hurtful to Christians than almost anything else imaginable. Christ did not teach us to be that way!! He taught us to love unconditionally. He loved the outcasts and the stigmatized of His day. This is how He teaches us to live as well. Christians have lost touch with what Christ taught us.

God has so much to offer us. The Bible has so much to encourage us and give us peace, even with our great struggles. Besides the medicine the doctor gives me, there is nothing like my belief in a loving God to keep me well. There is nothing like a church family to help us keep this faith alive. The church needs to find ways to help us with faith, instead of blaming us for not having it.

When a church friend or pastor tells us that there must be something wrong with our relationship with God, the results could be tragic. When a person who is already feeling the pain of depression is told that the fault lies within himself, nothing could be worse.

I had found wonderful support in my previous church and again at Brentwood Park. Because it came from friends who shared my faith, it was better than support I received from any other sources.  Followers of Jesus can use his example and share his love by being non-judgmental and compassionate—qualities not always available in other segments of society. Such friends encourage those who suffer to cling to the knowledge that God is there, even if he doesn’t seem to be.

When I started my blog, I came to hear from individuals who left the Church when they were made to feel ashamed about their mental health struggles. One person told me that she’d had no Christian support. Churches she attended had not been open to hearing about such problems. The pastor of one church knew of her illness, but warned her not to let anyone in the congregation know about it. “They wouldn’t understand.” As a result, she had no Christian friends with whom she could be open about her problems. She spent three weeks in hospital not feeling she could tell anyone—no one from her church praying for her or visiting.

Bolstered by such stories, my motivation to reduce stigma remained strong. Though struggling much with stress, I could not—and never would let go of the call God had on my life. The nature of the call would change over the years, but my determination always remained to make the world a better place for people living with mental health challenges.

Based on the good reception my ministry had received at BPAC (possibly excessively so), I would In October 2007 write:

I think I will need to do a lot of work helping churches accept Living Room as more than just a group meeting in the church. I would like to see the church absorb Living Room as an important part of its ministry. Connecting with the group in every way possible. Having people from the group speak in church once in a while, especially the facilitator, during Mental Health Awareness Week. Talking about Living Room to the congregation, praying for it. Having the pastor visit the group often. Having the facilitator liaise with church leaders, providing information about mental illness to congregants. The goal should be to make mental health issues an acceptable topic of conversation in the church. To remove the stigma.

In 2023, I trusted God in helping me put out the message that followers of Christ need to address the pain that’s felt by those who are being stigmatized. It’s a change of focus from where it was in 2006—going from reducing the stigma to healing the painful effects of stigma.

Starting in 2023, the following would be the message I felt called to pass on:

In the way Jesus brought healing to those who had been rejected by the world they lived in, his followers are best equipped to build confidence in people who feel the world’s rejection. They understand the love of God and they know how to pass that love on to those who most need it. They recognize the importance of reassuring those with low self-esteem of the great worth they have in God’s eyes. Christians are able to carry God’s message of hope to those who have lost it.


My booklet, Healing the Effects of Stigma gives clear guidance on helping a friend with mental health challenges find healing through Jesus Christ and his love. Buy a hard copy or download the free PDF available.