ECPA's Rush To PressTroubled Minds Author Speaks at Saddleback Mental Health Gathering

Krista Carnet |

LAKE FOREST, CA —Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission, was a featured speaker at The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church at Saddleback Church on March 28. This daylong event addressed a range of mental health issues, from bipolar disorder to suicide to more easily hidden issues such as anxiety, eating disorders and addiction.

“Amy Simpson knows firsthand the chaos, pain, stigma and heartache that mental illness can create for the individual sufferer and for family members,” said Kay Warren, cofounder of Saddleback Church. “Her voice lends credibility to the call to the church for a more loving and compassionate ministry to our brothers and sisters in pain.”

Simpson speaks on the topic of “Troubled Families: Support for Loved Ones Affected by Mental Illness.” She will talk about what it’s like to love someone with serious mental illness and explains that the effects of mental illness extend far beyond the individual. Simpson will discuss how mental illness affects families, give practical ideas for how churches can help and offer tips for how families can advocate for the help they need.

The editor of Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership and senior editor of Leadership Journal, Simpson conducted a survey among Christianity Today publications for church leaders and asked them about their experiences with mental illness among members of their congregations, in their families and personally. Among five hundred responses, 98 percent had seen some type of mental illness in their congregations.

Saddleback church pastor Rick Warren said, “When Kay and I began ministering to people with HIV/AIDS about a dozen years ago, I thought AIDS was the greatest taboo. But actually, I think mental illness is. And we want to remove the stigma.”

Nearly a year after his son’s suicide, Warren has started a new mental health ministry and is working with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host the conference in order to raise awareness and remove misunderstandings of mental illness in the faith community. Warren hopes the conference will educate family members of people living with mental illness, encourage those who are struggling and motivate other churches to create similar mental health ministries.

In Troubled Minds, Simpson sets out to accomplish the same goals. She calls the church to a renewed commitment to people who suffer from mental illness and to the families that suffer with them. “One of the most important truths the church needs to understand about mental illness is that like other hardships, it can be redeemed,” Simpson said. “God can and does use it for his good work in and through us. I’m grateful that the Warrens and others are allowing God to redeem their heartbreaking experiences through this event. I hope it will change the church, and I’m honored to be part of it.”

Simpson’s next book, Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry, will release in October 2014.

Visit for more information about the conference. For more information about Amy Simpson and her book Troubled Minds visit .

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