My name is Nate, I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with addiction and mental health issues. I serve as the National Director of the Mental Health Initiative for Celebrate Recovery.
One in 4 people will experience some type of mental health issue this year, and over half of all people will personally go through some mental health issue in their lifetime. This is an issue of life or death for many people. Globally, one person dies every 40 seconds by his or her own hand. More Americans die by suicide than from war, cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. When someone is in a mental health crisis the first place they go is not to their friends, family, or doctor; they go to the church. The Church needs to be prepared. Celebrate Recovery is striving to do just that.
Celebrate Recovery won’t start counseling centers or try to fix anyone. We won’t even launch separate groups for mental health. The professional work will be left to the professionals. But we can make a difference. Because of the stigma that surrounds mental health, many of those who struggle do so in silence. That is where we come in. By creating a safe place for someone to talk about what is going on, we are helping remove one of the greatest barriers to healing or managing a mental health issue: isolation. We are saying it is okay to talk about what is going on, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes the organs in our bodies don’t work in the way they were designed, and the brain is an organ too. In the same way diabetes or cancer is talked about openly, mental health should be as well.
Beyond opening the conversation, we are also going to support those who are struggling as we never have before. Using a slow and deliberate process of offering a Mental Health Champion in each group and utilizing a new tool called the Mental Health Recovery Agreement, we can come alongside a person and offer support, referral sources, even bring them to those resources if necessary. To learn about the new,Celebrate Recovery Mental Health Initiative please attend a Celebrate Recovery One-Day Conference this fall.
Nate Stewart is the National Director of the Mental Health Initiative for Celebrate Recovery.