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Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  340 ratings  ·  57 reviews
The 2014 Christianity Today Book Award Winner (Her.meneutics)
Winner of a 2013 Leadership Journal Book Award ("Our Very Short List" in "The Leader's Outer Life" category)

Mental illness is the sort of thing we don't like to talk about. It doesn't reduce nicely to simple solutions and happy outcomes. So instead, too often we reduce people who are mentally ill to caricatures
Paperback, 221 pages
Published April 3rd 2013 by IVP Books (first published March 6th 2013)
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James Housworth
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a difficult book to read. I bought it thinking it would be a hopeful, realistic, practical guide to understanding mental illness from a Christian perspective. It’s more of a wake up call, gut-check to the stomach type of book.

In accomplishing that purpose (giving the church a wake up call), I thought the author did really well. She provides example after example of the heart-wrenching stories, questions with no satisfactory answers, and constant struggle of people who live with mental
Kevin Deisher
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a book I wanted to write and am so glad that someone finally wrote it. The church is often the first and last place people turn to for help in mental health crisis and this book is a great resource that every church leader should read.
Jonathan Brown
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Troubled Minds, as other reviewers have noted, is part-memoir, part-treatise, part-counsel. Amy Simpson, the author, grew up in a pastor's family, one of several siblings; but, as time went on, it became apparent that her mother was beginning to suffer from schizophrenia, a fact that soon came to dominate their household dynamics and the way they related with their church (and compelled her father to eventually step down from ministry to care for her better). At one point, her mother, in the gri ...more
Faith Spinks
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent, thought provoking read. Mental health is a reality. It’s a reality in every walk of life. Although this book focuses on the Church it is a useful read for people in all sorts of context. A very real understanding of what mental health is and the issues surrounding it. And also an understanding of how too often the Church responds to people and their families with mental health issues, how they should and some very practical ideas for taking it further.
Adrian Warnock
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amy Simpson bravely shares her own story of how her mother’s mental health affected her upbringing. She speaks of not feeling she could tell any of her friends about her mother’s mental illness. Troubled Minds also weaves in experiences shared by other Christians, and shares the results of a survey of church leaders on the subject. This is an excellent book for those who have no understanding of mental illness, but it also has a great message for those who do already have experience in the area. ...more
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Something is deeply wrong with the perspective of the church that welcomes only the attractive,desire able, and like-minded. A quick glance at the contrast to Jesus' ministry on earth should be enough to convince us that we are not her to be as comfortable as possible. We are not her for the sake of our own achievement, success, or happiness. We are here to fulfill the wishes of the one who bought our lives with his own."
Instinctively, as a sufferer of chronic, major depression, I do not trust
Karla Owen foisy
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
meh. Amy Simpson's family has struggled with her mom's mental illness for most of Amy's life. She describes not only how her family dealt with it, but how the church responded. She continues her story, to illustrate how the church could minister to those with mental illness (and their families). The book has a slew of good ideas, and I enjoyed reading those sections, but she spends much time on describing/explaining mental illnesses and diagnoses, and I felt this section was too long and unneces ...more
Madison Boboltz
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Read this book for my Abnormal Psychology class and had the opportunity to skype with the author. This book is so educational and important. I️ recommend I️t to any Christian who cares to see the church do a better job loving those who suffer in any shape or form from mental illness.
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
The best thing about the book is that it helped to put several things into perspective that I have been thinking about lately. First it helped to solidify the idea that counseling psychology is one of our modern Baals and has crept into the church in a horribly evil way.

Second, the world is doing a better job of taking care of the people in our churches who are suffering from brain damage. They are doing a terrible job, but they are doing better, badly, than we are not doing at all. While Mrs. S
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Nearly everyone is touched by mental illness – directly or indirectly – at some point. 1 in 4 people are suffering from a mental illness at any time, and the figure is higher for those who have at some point during their life. Antipsychotics are the best-selling class of drugs in the US. Nearly every church has recognized mental illness in its congregation, and yet the vast majority do nothing to care for those suffering, and don’t know how to care for them. Some can even make it worse. Ours is ...more
Hannah Notess
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great overview of what has gone wrong with churches' attempts to minister (okay, minister is a generous word) to people with mental illness, and some great suggestions about how churches can improve. Very readable and well-written, with a nice balance between personal stories of families (the author's mother has schizophrenia) and practical, research-backed information.

I think this book would be useful for just about any pastor.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This a book that every church leader and member needs to read. There are a lot of misconceptions, some of which are down right dangerous, about mental illness which continue to permeate the larger church body. This is a book that is easy to read and packed full of information about mental illness and what the church's role needs to be going forward.
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mental-illness
Easy, yet educated read to help others have an understanding of mental illness and the feeling of loneliness in the church. Sadly, I could relate to many of the short stories. Amy Simpson, thank you for having the courage to share your story and encouraging us to make a change in our community.
Nancy Dragoo
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Someone said on Instagram yesterday that their goal in 2018 is to make the broken feel less broken. Yes! Could there be a better mission for the church? But despite being hope for many types of brokenness, for many individuals with mental illness and their families, the church often contributes to the stigma of mental illness and feelings of isolation.

Sometimes the stigma described by the author was difficult to read as it brought back so many memories of being "that family" in the church when I
Lindsey Varble
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great book about mental illness and the Church’s response. Anyone involved in church ministry should read this book. So many both inside and outside of the Church are affected by mental illness, and this book is a helpful introduction to both the problem and solution.

The author summarized her book best on page 19: “This is not a clinical work or an academic tome. It‘s not a gripe session or a tirade against the church. It’s a book that the church needs because of both its practicality and its
Crystal Dwinnell
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Reading this as one persons experience was interesting however reading it as a required book academically I found it incredibly disappointing. I think the authors perspectives of the role of the church in mental health care is too high of an expectation. Individuals with mental illness need counsel and care by professionals, the church cannot take the place of that. While the author never explicitly suggests that it does seem to be her expectation. Can the church do a better job understanding me ...more
Eleanor Shepherd
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
It seemed to me that this book only scratched the surface of the subject and that there is a whole lot more that needs to be written. It is extremely complicated and there needs to be some deep theological thinking to accompany this in the same way that there needs to be for dealing with any kinds of ills. The writing of this book is certainly a step in the right direction in helping to acknowledge a problem that has long been ignored.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about real life and the struggle of dealing with depression. I so much appreciate Amy's honesty about her family and her journey about helping others learn how to care in difficult circumstances. This is a must read for anyone because someone we know struggles with depression or you are looking for help yourself.
Jillian Michaud
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good reference book on basic mental illnesses. I found the practical advice in regards to what the Church can do to support people with mental illnesses and those who have loved ones who suffer from mental illnesses really helpful and useful, and have taken note for future reference and ideas for my own ministry. I only took a star away because of the stories that sometimes ran together.
Katy Vincent
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this and it helped me grasp a lot of truths I needed to hear to help me understand my husband’s illness better. I think the author is a bit more evangelical and okay with women clergy...but over all there are many good nuggets in this book and it was helpful to help me realize some ways I was failing my husband in his struggles.
Loredana Ulici
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When you face adversity just because you are 'different' (you suffer from a certain disease or you are co-dependent to an addiction) it is very difficult to give all the expected answers.
This book helped me to be more aware of the fact that I have learnt a lesson and I have some answers with me. Which might be helpful for others.
Nancy Bandusky
Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a good book to educate the "church" on how to respond to someone suffering from a mental illness; it includes several ideas/examples of how to help show God's love to other humans, just like is done to those suffering from more acceptable illnesses.
Susan Quinnell
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great resource for the lay person. Helpful and frank discussion of the challenges with mental illness. Important ministry suggestions for the community of church to address compassion and support for the suffering in our midst.
I will be sharing this book with my ministry staff!
Josh McInnis
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
An important introduction to the prevalence of mental illness and why and how churches should destigmatize suffering from mental illness and come alongside sufferers and those who care and love for the sufferers.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Informative and helpful. Simpson draws a clear picture of the many ways we as individuals and as the local church ignore mental illness and therefore fail to meet the needs of the vulnerable in our midst.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: counseling, 2017
Very good resource for pastors, counselors or families dealing with mental illness.
Annie Kate
Worthwhile reading for every church member because mental illness is becoming more and more common. Personal, informative, and hopeful, this books gives direction to those who want to help.
Teresa Hurst
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Informative for Christians who want to help those who suffer from mental illness and their loved ones. It’s a bit redundant toward the end, so I subtracted a star for that.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Troubled Minds is a powerful resource for church leaders. It provides an understanding of mental illness within a theological and compassionate framework.
Aaron Rosales
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
basic. neither theological nor psychological. not effectively descriptive nor prescriptive. very vague bullet pointed recommendations
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Amy Simpson is a passionate leader, communicator, and coach who loves to encourage people to discern and fulfill their calling in this life.

She works as an author, a personal and professional coach, a speaker, a freelance writer, and an editor. She has been writing for 20 years, authoring numerous resources for Christian ministry, including her newest book, "Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of W

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“Through the years, I’ve never met an emotionally mature man or woman of God who has not traveled through a period of great suffering. With God as our touchstone, suffering builds hope and humility. I’ve learned that each human being must sooner or later decide if they want to be cool or deep. I’m putting my money on deep.4” 0 likes
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