A spiritual response to mental illness

Brian Talcott, C.S.B.

Bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, paranoid schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease are just a few aspects of this important but sensitive subject covered in the chat. Mental illness in children and what constitutes mental health are among other topics the chat addressed. Brian says that it’s not helpful to tell someone with a mental challenge to just “snap out of it.” Rather, we need to help them understand how to grow spiritually so they can lift themselves out of the problem. He points out that Jesus was able to heal insane people (and others), not by focusing on the problem, but by lifting up their true spiritual nature and seeing it so clearly that the problem was gone. Willingness to love patiently and persistently, to be humble and compassionate will enable us to be healers also.

“To be mentally healthy,” he says, “is to be at one with God, to be in touch with the deeper reality of being that helps us understand that we coexist with God, that we live out from God, that we have a Friend, a Father-Mother who is God, and that we can live our life in touch with that reality. As you do that, it brings everything in your world into a better perspective, and that’s a very healthy perspective in dealing with the challenges you face.”

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