Amy writes with passion and from personal experience of how Mental Health conditions affect the whole family and not only the sufferer. The loss created by a family member suffering from a serious mental illness is wide-ranging, impacting many areas of life, not least relationships within the family, and other friendships creating a very real sense of loneliness and desolation. The stigma Amy recounts encountering, from within the church and in other circles too, because of her Mother’s schizophrenia is debilitating and potentially life-limiting in and of itself.
She calls for churches to be more open about suffering, not only talking about ‘victorious living’ but also the reality of life as we find it. Jesus, after all, himself said that he did not come for the healthy but for the sick. The body of Christ should see themselves following Jesus’ example in this.
One other major point that comes across throughout the book is the expectation on those with mental illnesses to ‘get better’. Many serious mental health conditions are long term and need ongoing monitoring and treatment, not a 12-step recovery programme.
I liked elements of this book, in particular I thought Amy’s inclusion of so many different people’s stories really helped to ground her messages in reality rather than as theoretical concepts. On the other hand, it is very American-centric, with the only references to anything outside the states coming in the ‘history of treatment’ chapter, when it would appear that she has not carried out any kind of comparison to show how European treatment models may have differed from those in the States, either historically or now.
It’s worth a read, I was cheering her call for churches to be more open and honest about suffering!
Check out Amy’s website here: http://amysimpson.com/books/