The Church has made great headway in offering more accepting communities for people with mental health issues. But is the acceptance and the support it now gives enough?

I believe God calls us to do more. One of the most difficult things people with mental illness face is low self-esteem. With the love of Christ, Christians could be helping them grow to be the kind of human beings who would feel worthy within themselves, equal to others around them.

Over time, caregivers could adopt new ways of looking at the people they care for. The Church could take a new role—not only supporting them, but building them up. Too big a challenge? It might seem so.  But, when we look at history, I believe we’ll see it’s not out of sight for followers of Christ.

Although the church has been responsible for injustices, causing much damage, the world would not be where it is today without Jesus. The Christian church has been at the forefront of social reform, ever since Jesus’ ministry on earth.

The world is full of injustices. Wrongs that have been that way for so long that people can’t see them for what they are. Brave individuals have seen the problems and transformed the status quo in the way Jesus did 2000 years ago.

Although there has been some stigma reduction, much is still wrong with the way people with mental illness are looked upon and treated. I believe the Church can lead the way in creating a world where negative attitudes towards those living with mental health problems can be replaced by a positive attitude—a desire to help them grow into people with a healthy self-esteem.

It may seem like a tall order. But look at the accomplishments of men like William Wilberforce, abolishing the Atlantic Slave Trade. Look at Martin Luther King, Jr. and his determination to desegregate the United States. And Mother Teresa’s work. Don’t you think the plans these individuals had to carry out their work would have been thought impossible at the time?

I believed they were doubted by many. Wilberforce was ridiculed as he repeatedly introduced bills in Parliament. Mother Teresa was doubted and it took a long time before she had approval to work among the poor in the slums of Calcutta. These leaders were influenced by Jesus Christ and his example of love for others.

It was through the love of Christ, given and received, that many ills of the world have been healed, at least in a great part. Through the love of Christ within ourselves, we too can make a difference in the attitudes held towards people with mental illness. We can make a difference in how they feel about themselves.

People with mental health challenges are real people, as real as any others. They deserve to be a vital part of our world. Although it may seem hopeless, there are things that can be done to improve their situation. The Church in particular is in a prime position to make a difference.

It’s time for us to invite Jesus to reveal himself and his teachings afresh to the Church and to bring justice to the outcasts of today.