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Book: Understanding Mental Health: A Guide for Faith Communities

There is no health without mental health.

Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, dementia, and alcohol use disorders are highly prevalent, affecting one in eight persons globally, according to the World Health Organization.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of common mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, trauma-related conditions and drug and alcohol use have increased. These trends are projected to continue to increase over the next decade.

Left untreated, these conditions exact a terrible toll; not only do they cause untold human suffering, but they are linked to poor medical and functional outcomes. Additionally, they impose a significant economic toll on individuals, families and societies, from lost productivity and ancillary costs.

Within faith communities, mental health conditions are often misunderstood.
Some faith traditions attribute mental health conditions solely to spiritual causes, such as sin, demonic influence or a lack of faith. Other faith traditions actively discourage seeking treatment from medical or mental health professionals.
This can prolong suffering and can even lead to death from suicide, medical complications and neglect.

This book aims to demystify mental illness for faith communities. Written in plain language over 7 chapters, it discusses what is known about the causes of common mental health conditions, their manifestations, how they are treated and how that treatment can be accessed. It also provides tips for promoting mental health and suggestions on the role of faith in recovery.

For families and particularly for faith leaders, it positions helpers and bystanders to recognize common mental health conditions, provide immediate assistance and referral to the appropriate treatment resource.

This book will be an invaluable resource for individuals, communities and leaders seeking to understand these conditions and how to help those experiencing them.

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