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Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families
edited Robert H Albers, William Meller, Steven Thurber
Publisher:Augsburg Fortress Publishers from Alban Books
I am tempted to give this an 'essential read' label as many of us in the church do come into contact with people with mental health needs. We can feel inadequately prepared, a situation which the authors are trying to rectify without claiming that we will become instant experts. The American church context of the book is very different from the church structures in this country, so some of the suggested actions would not be possible here - and by the time I finished reading the book I was profoundly thankful for the NHS despite problems and financial cutbacks, because some of the problems faced by the contributors are covered by the NHS.
The overviews of the types of illness discussed in the book are couched in language for the lay person to understand, giving definitions which are useful guidelines, plus information about possible treatments and possible problems for the pastor / minister and local church in the various situations. The authors do not try to cover every sort of illness of the brain, but the nine chosen are the ones we are most likely to encounter: Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, Personality Disorders, Substance-use Disorders, Eating Disorders, Autism, Acquired Brain Injury and Dementia.
For those who want to read further there are extensive bibliographies after each section.
Reviewer: Pam Sanders (31/05/13)