Mental Health Ministries


The books included in this section have been lifted up in our e-Spotlights. While it is not possible to include all books addressing spirituality/faith and mental illness, we will continue to add book titles that we feature in our e-Spotlights. In most cases there is a link to purchasing these books. Susan Gregg Schroeder’s book, In the Shadow of God’s Wings: Grace in the Midst of Depression, is available for purchase on this website.

A Common Struggle

(Available on Amazon)

A Common StrugglePatrick J. Kennedy, the former congressman and youngest child of Senator Ted Kennedy, details his personal and political battle with mental illness and addiction, exploring mental health care's history in the country alongside his and every family's private struggles.

A Pastor's Guide for the Shadow of Depression

(Available from the Wesleyan Publishing House)

A Pastor's Guide for the Shadow of DepressionPastors face unique challenges and unrealistic expectations that can lead to feelings of failure, deep sadness, and depression. Too often they feel no one understands, as if there’s nowhere to turn.  In this book, Dr. Gary Lovejoy comes alongside pastors to help them recognize when they may be depressed so they can find help and make needed changes. Even more, Dr. Lovejoy identifies assertive ways pastors can address critical issues before the shadows begin to envelop them.  Depression is a warning sign that won’t simply go away on its own. Every pastor should read this guide, even if they’ve never felt depressed. It may be the lifeline you need at a critical time. 

A Pelican in the Wilderness: Depression, Psalms, Ministry and Movies

(Available on Amazon)

A Pelican in the Wilderness: Depression, Psalms, Ministry and MoviesAfter serving for more than thirty years as a parish minister, Robert W. Griggs was hospitalized with major depression. This is the story of his depression and recovery and a recovery of health, vocation, and faith. First, Griggs regained the experience of small pleasures. Eventually, he recovered the ability to choose, to set limits, and to accept reality. He then turned to the biblical Psalms-indeed his own writing echoes their candor. But he also found hope in films, including Breakfast at Tiffany's and Blazing Saddles. To the mental health issues facing clergy and others in the helping professions Griggs brings to bear insights from research and from his own experience as a pastor and a person recovering from depression. He tells his story with spirit and humor.

A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression

(Available on Amazon)

A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen DepressionDepression and related illnesses threaten to wreck the lives of many teens and their families. Suicide driven by these illnesses is one of the top killers of young people. How do teens become depressed? What does depression feel like? How can we identify it? What helps depressed teens? What hurts them? How do families cope with teen depression?

In A Relentless Hope, Dr. Gary Nelson uses his experience as a pastor and pastoral counselor to guide the reader through an exploration of these and many other questions about depression in teens. He's worked with many teens over the years offering help to those confronted by this potentially devastating illness. The author also uses the story of his own son's journey through depression to weave together insights into the spiritual, emotional, cognitive, biological, and relational dimensions of teen depression. The book is written for those without formal clinical training, so it appeals to teens, parents, teachers, pastors, and any who walk with the afflicted through this valley of the shadow of death. Through careful analysis, candid self-revelation, practical advice, and even humor, this pastor, counselor, and father, reminds us God's light of healing can shine through the darkness of depression and offer hope for struggling teens and their families. 

A Spiritual Path from Darkness to Hope: Devotions for Your Time in Psychiatric Care

(Download PDF here)

A Spiritual Path from Darkness to Hope: Devotions for Your Time in Psychiatric CareFrom the author…I minister on the psychiatric unit of a hospital as chaplain. This particular ministry has been an interest area of mine for many years, for both professional and personal reasons. People hospitalized on the unit where I work often have requested spiritual reading materials. Because so many admitted to a hospital due to mental health needs have made suicide attempts or are experiencing strong suicidal ideation, I wanted the devotional to be direct in addressing this and similar concerns. As a result, I wrote this book for 7-days of devotions, with a prayer to say at the time of and after discharge. Besides chaplains, this resource is something pastors could print and bring along when visiting a congregation member in the hospital. Another possibility would be using pages from this book in one-on-one pastoral care work by clergy, Christian therapists, or others. Finally, small group facilitators in a community program for those struggling with mental illness could use the devotional as a basis for a seven session small group.  

Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions

(Available on Amazon)

Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of AddictionsAddiction and Grace offers an inspiring and hope-filled vision for those who desire to explore the mystery of who and what they really are. May examines the "processes of attachment" that lead to addiction and describes the relationship between addiction and spiritual awareness. He also details the various addictions from which we can suffer, not only to substances like alcohol and drugs, but to work, sex, performance, responsibility, and intimacy.

Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist working with the chemically dependent, May emphasizes that addiction represents an attempt to assert complete control over our lives. Addiction and Grace is a compassionate and wise treatment of a topic of major concern in these most addictive of times, one that can provide a critical yet hopeful guide to a place of freedom based on contemplative spirituality.

Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability and Inclusion

(Available on Amazon)

Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability and InclusionAmazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability, and Inclusion is a new publication by noted religion writer Mark I. Pinsky. Pinsky has gathered stories from churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples across the country, "stories of people with disabilities and the congregations where they have found welcome." He has taken special care to include the widest range of disabilities, including non-apparent disabilities like lupus, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, depression, and mental illness. There were 54 million American with disabilities as of 2000, and that number is now being swelled by wounded warriors from the Afghan and Iraq wars and an aging population.

The author emphasizes that his purpose is to not to write a resource manual on accessibility and inclusion. Rather, Pinsky seeks to share stories of how people with disabilities have experienced their faith in the context of their disability, and how congregations have gained when they value the gifts that people with disabilities bring along. "This book," notes the author, "is for congregational leaders and others who may have no expertise or personal experience with disability, but who make the congregational decisions about accessibility and inclusion."

The book is divided into three parts: Empowering People and Congregations, Ministry by People with Disabilities and Family Members in Ministry.

Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry

(Available on Amazon)

Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of WorryOur culture is frantic with worry. We stress over circumstances we can’t control, we talk about what’s keeping us up at night and we wring our hands over the fate of disadvantaged people all over the world, almost as if to show we care and that we have big things to care about. Worry is part of our culture, an expectation of responsible people. And sadly, Christians are no different. But we are called to live and think differently from the worried world around us. Worry is a spiritual problem, which ultimately cannot be overcome with sheer willpower–its solution is rooted entirely in who God is.

Challenging the idolatrous underpinnings of worry, former Christianity Today executive Amy Simpson encourages us to root our faith in who God is, not in our own will power. Correctly understanding the theology of worry is critical to true transformation

Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman's Journey with Depression and Faith

(Available on Amazon)

Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman's Journey with Depression and FaithIn gripping fashion, Monica Coleman examines the ways that the legacies of slavery, war, sharecropping, poverty, and alcoholism mask a family history of mental illness. Those same forces accompanied her into the black religious traditions and Christian ministry. All the while, she wrestled with her own bipolar disorder. Bipolar Faith is both a spiritual autobiography and a memoir of mental illness. In this powerful book, Coleman shares her life-long dance with trauma, depression, and the threat of death. Citing serendipitous encounters with black intellectuals like Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Angela Davis, and Renita Weems, Coleman offers a rare account of how the modulated highs of bipolar II can lead to professional success, while hiding a depression that even her doctors rarely believed. Only as she was able to face her illness was she able to live faithfully with bipolar.

Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family and the Church

(Available on Amazon)

Blessed Are the CrazyIn Blessed Are the Crazy, Sarah Griffith Lund, a United Church of Christ minister, looks back at her father’s battle with bipolar disorder, and the helpless sense of déjà vu as her brother and cousin endure mental illness as well. With a small group study guide and “Ten Steps for Developing a Mental Health Ministry in Your Congregation. on,” Blessed Are the Crazy is more than a memoir—it’s a resource for churches and other faith-based groups to provide healing and comfort.

Blessed Union: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness and Marriage

Blessed Union: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness and MarriageAuthor of Blessed are the Crazy, Sarah Griffith Lund opens up about depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in her own marriage and shares stories of other couples who have been impacted by mental illnesses such as addiction, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, postpartum depression, schizophrenia, suicidality, and more.

Using traditional marriage vows as a framework for the book, Blessed Union explores the challenges of loving in the midst of mental health challenges, why it happens, what we can do about it, and how our faith is connected to mental illness. This book reminds us that we are not alone and invites us to break the silence around marriage and mental illness.

Available on Amazon

Blossoming Hope: The Black Woman's Guide to Mental Health and Wellness

(Available on Amazon)

Blossoming Hope: The Black Christian Woman's Guide to Mental Health and WellnessBlossoming Hope: The Black Christian Woman's Guide to Mental Health and Wellness by D. Tonya Armstrong, a licensed psychologist, minister, and seminary administrator. By taking seriously the cultural and spiritual identities of Black Christian women, Dr. Armstrong addresses the unique challenges of Black women and provides practical resources that promote wholeness. Using the transformative tools of psychoeducation, vignettes of Black Christian women living with mental illness, inspirational music, spoken word exercises, and a wealth of spiritual, mental health, and wellness resources, Dr. Armstrong guides us toward optimal functioning in mind, spirit, body, and soul. In short, Blossoming Hope equips you for full blossoming, firmly planted in the God of our hope.

Broken Brain, Fortified Faith

(Available on Amazon)

Broken Brain, Fortified FaithBroken Brain, Fortified Faith is the story of one family's journey through schizophrenia, navigating the uncharted waters of mental illness to find help for their daughter, Amber, and support for their family. This memoir is an honest look at the stress, anger, education, and finally, hope experienced through eyes of a mother. Along the way, she questions her trust in God as their family encounters setbacks, inadequate treatments, and additional family health crises, but with the help of trusted family, friends, education, and support groups, author Virginia Pillars learns to rely on her faith as she faces the challenges that often accompany mental illness.

Catholic Guide to Depression

(Available on Amazon)

The Catholic Guide to DepressionCountless Christians - including scores of saints - have suffered profound, pervasive sorrow that modern psychiatrists call "depression." Then, as now, great faith and even fervent spiritual practices have generally failed to ease this wearying desolation of soul. Catholic psychiatrist Aaron Kheriaty reviews the effective ways that have recently been devised to deal with this grave and sometimes deadly affliction - ways that are not only consistent with the teachings of the Church, but even rooted in many of those teachings.

Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't Enough

(Available through Saddleback Church)

Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't EnoughWhy are some people—even in the toughest times—always filled with joy, while most of us can't seem to find lasting joy no matter how hard we search? Do joy-filled people know something we don't? The answer is yes! And in her warm, candid style, Kay Warren shares that life-transforming truth with you.

Coming Home: Ministry That Matters with Veterans and Military Families

(Available through Chalice Press)

Coming Home: Ministry that Matters with Veterans and Military FamiliesComing home from military service is a process of reconnection and reintegration that is best engaged within a compassionate community. Zachary Moon, a commissioned military chaplain, has seen the unique challenges for those adjusting to post-war life. In this book, he prepares congregations to mobilize a receptive and restorative ministry with veterans and their families. Discussion questions and other resources included will help support small-group dialogue and community building.

Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints Who Struggled with Depression and Doubt

(Available from InterVarsity Press)

The church's relationship with depression has been fraught: for centuries, depression was assumed to be evidence of personal sin or even demonic influence. The depressed have often been ostracized or institutionalized. In recent years, the conversation has begun to change, and the stigma has lessened—but as anyone who suffers from depression knows, we still have a long way to go.

In Companions in the Darkness, Diana Gruver looks back into church history and finds depression in the lives of some of our most beloved saints, including Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King Jr. Without trying to diagnose these figures from a distance, Gruver tells their stories in fresh ways, taking from each a particular lesson that can encourage or guide those who suffer today. Drawing on her own experience with depression, Gruver offers a wealth of practical wisdom both for those in the darkness and those who care for them.

Counseling for the Soul in Distress: What Every Pastor Should Know About Emotional and Mental Illness

(Available on Amazon)

Counseling for the Soul in Distress: What Every Pasotr Should Know About Emotional and Mental IllnessClinical psychologist Richard Roukema understands the common roles played by clergy and psychiatrists who care for congregants struggling with mental and emotional illnesses. He appreciates the spiritual dimension of healing as an integral part of care for the emotionally distressed religious patient. This book examines the history of psychiatry, addresses current research into brain chemistry, and discusses the success of modern medicine to correct or control symptoms of mental disorders.

Roukema systematically addresses a wide range of mood disorders, neuroses, personality disorders and traits, sexual and eating disorders, and the effects of loss and stress. He provides clear and useful information aimed at giving clergy the necessary tools to recognize and understand the care and treatment that might be appropriate for the affected person. He consistently points to ways the clergy can most effectively provide support and resources for the patient and family. Issues of pastoral ethics, as well as self-care, are addressed. Roukema concludes with guidance in the referrals of patients.

What could have been a voluminous text filled with medical jargon and little contact with the role of clergy turns out to be a concise, yet thorough, educational and reference book that deserves a special place on the bookshelf of pastors and counselors alike. Seminaries would do well to consider using this text in courses on pastoral care and counseling.

Darkness is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness

(Available on Amazon)

Darkness is My Only CompanionWhere is God in the suffering of a mentally ill person? What happens to the soul when the mind is ill? How are Christians to respond to mental illness? In this brave and compassionate book, theologian and priest Kathryn Greene-McCreight confronts these difficult questions raised by her own mental illness--bipolar disorder. With brutal honesty, she tackles often avoided topics such as suicide, mental hospitals, and electroconvulsive therapy. Greene-McCreight offers the reader everything from poignant and raw glimpses into the mind of a mentally ill person to practical and forthright advice for their friends, family, and clergy.

The first edition has been recognized as one of the finest books on the subject. This thoroughly revised edition incorporates updated research and adds anecdotal and pastoral commentary. It also includes a new foreword by the current Archbishop of Canterbury and a new afterword by the author.

Deeply Woven Roots: Improving the Quality of Life in Your Community

(Available on Amazon)

Deeply Woven Roots: Improving the Quality of Life in Your CommunityWith insight born of experience and conviction, The Carter Center's Gary Gunderson suggests ways that congregations, religious leaders, and concerned individuals can take practical steps to improve the health of their communities. Eminently practical yet deeply religious, Gunderson's book will help people of faith nurture community life at its roots.

Faith and Mental Health: Religious Resources for Healing

(Available on Amazon)

Faith & Mental Health: Religious Resources for HealingDr. Harold Koenig has done groundbreaking research on faith/spirituality and mental health.  In Faith and Mental Health, Dr. Koenig examines how Christianity and other world religions deliver mental health services today, and he makes recommendations, based on research, expertise, and experience, for new programs to meet local needs.

Finding God: Praying the Psalms in Times of Depression

(Available on Amazon)

Finding God: Praying the Psalms in Times of DepressionIn this small yet immensely helpful guide, pastor Thomas Lewis offers spiritual resources for the many persons today suffering from depression. By turning his readers toward praying the Psalms, as he did in his own battle with depression, Lewis assists those seeking hope and a healing touch to find, in his words, "a cup of cold water in parched land." He speaks frankly about his own battle with deep depression; discusses the types of depression, the symptoms, and where to get help; and then lays out several Psalms of lament that can support people in times of depression and form a foundation for all other approaches to treating the illness. This book will prove to be a valuable resource for those engaged in pastoral care and counseling, for those who have loved ones suffering from depression, and persons suffering from depression themselves.

Finding Hope: Ways to See Life in a Brighter Light

(Available on Amazon)

Finding HopeThere is something mysterious about hope. You can be in dire straits and have a great deal of hope. You can have everything going your way and have little or no hope at all. As Jevne and Miller explain in this book, hope has a powerful effect upon your life. After explaining what hope is and is not, they describe how it works and offer twenty-two specific ideas about how to find, keep, and build hope in one's personal life. The book is designed to be not just about hope but an experience in hope itself. It contains many insightful quotations from the ages as well as black and white photography that is hopeful in effect.

Finding Jesus in the Storm: The Spiritual Lives of Christians with Mental Health Challenges

(Available on Amazon)

People living with mental health challenges are not excluded from God’s love or even the fullness of life promised by Jesus. Unfortunately, this hope is often lost amid the well-meaning labels and medical treatments that dominate the world of mental health today. In Finding Jesus in the Storm, John Swinton makes the case for reclaiming that hope by changing the way we talk about mental health and remembering that, above all, people are people, regardless of how unconventionally they experience life. This means accepting the reality and ramifications of suffering while also affirming that there is more to humanity than cells and synapses.  Finding Jesus in the Storm is a call for the church to be an epicenter of compassion for those experiencing depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and related difficulties.

Freedom from Worry –  28 Days of Prayer

(Available on The Upper Room)

Freedom from WorryPatricia Wilson’s brief book is packed with helpful suggestions for letting go of your worries. Twenty-eight days of prayer can help reduce your anxiety level. Meditate on the devotions and pray the Psalms and other prayers in this practical, easy-to-use book.

Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis

(Available on Amazon)

Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental IllnessAfter battling bipolar disorder and finding no spiritual support group for his own journey to wholeness, Pastor Brad Hoefs developed his own support group model and workbook. Fresh Hope combines teaching sections centered on basic tenets for recovery. These include accepting a diagnosis, restoring relationships, pushing past excuses and faulty thinking patterns, choosing hope, trusting others, understanding the role of medications and God's purposes for pain. The interactive workbook format allows the individual to respond to supporting Bible passages and recovery principles. Hoef's psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Egger, briefly contributes medical information regarding mood disorders in the Q&A sections at the end of each chapter. The book is available in paperback and as an e-book. Suitable for recovery support groups. Discover more at Fresh

From Longing to Belonging: A Practical Guide to Including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith Community

(Available on Amazon)

From Longing to Belonging: A Practical Guide to including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith CommunityEveryone wants to belong--in their community at large and especially their faith-based community. Nearly 20 percent of people live with a disability or mental health condition, which means so many families--maybe even yours--are dealing with these issues for their loved one. The one place everyone should feel like they belong is their house of worship and other faith-based community organizations. From Longing to Belonging is a new approach to inclusion. Author Shelly Christensen, M.A., a leader in faith community disability inclusion, provides step-by-step guidance to any faith-based organization committed to welcoming, supporting, and including people with disabilities or mental health conditions and those who love them. From Longing to Belonging will help your faith community take a new look at inclusion and belonging and learn how to welcome and include everyone.

From Shattered to Restored: Recovering Hope. Discovering Purpose.

(Available on Amazon)

From Longing to Belonging: A Practical Guide to including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith CommunityIn this stunningly transparent memoir, Nanette Larson shares her journey from a life of constant hopelessness and despair, deep depression, crippling anxiety, and suicidality to one full of victorious hope and purpose.  As a mental health professional herself, Nanette shares with her readers the techniques that helped her address every part of her being--spirit, soul, and body.  For anyone struggling with mental illness, Larson offers hope and solid help, wrapped in her own vulnerable story. An excellent tool for churches, small groups, and recovery support groups.

Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness

(Available on Amazon)

Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental IllnessEach day men and women diagnosed with mental disorders are told they need to pray more and turn from their sin. Mental illness is equated with demonic possession, weak faith and generational sin. Why is it that the church has struggled in ministering to those with mental illnesses? As both a church leader and professor of psychology and neuroscience, Michael S. Stanford has seen far too many mentally ill brothers and sisters damaged by well-meaning believers who respond to them out of fear or misinformation rather than grace.

Grace for the Afflicted is written to educate Christians about mental illness from both biblical and scientific perspectives. Stanford presents insights into our physical and spiritual nature and discusses the appropriate role of psychology and psychiatry in the life of the believer. Describing common mental disorders, Stanford asks of each: "What does science say and what does the Bible say about this illness?"

Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder

(Download PDF file | Available from the International Bipolar Foundation)

Healthy Living with Bipolar DisorderThe International Bipolar Foundation (IBF) has released a second edition of their free book, Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder.  This resource has a wealth of helpful information divided into three sections: About Bipolar Depression, Healthy Living and Resources.  The chapters address topics such as treatment modalities, suicide, substance abuse, stigma, family relationships, college students, work place and support for caregivers.  A chapter, “Mental Illness and Families of Faith” was written by Susan Gregg-Schroeder. 

Held: Showing Up for Each Other's Mental Health

(Available on Amazon)

Held: Showing Up for Each Other's Mental HealthCommunity minister and mental health advocate Barbara F. Meyers illustrates how members of liberal religious congregations can be supportive to those living with mental health problems, and their loved ones, in our congregations and society at large. Meyers addresses the fundamental elements of spiritual support truth, hope, presence, acceptance, encouragement, authenticity, public witness, pastoral care, and safe places with stories from real life situations and suggestions for how parishioners can provide and advocate for support in their congregations. A study guide for congregations and a list of resources for more information round out this thoughtful and necessary resource. 

Hope & Healing for Those with PTSD

(Available on Amazon)

Hope & Healing for Those with PTSDFROM THE AUTHOR, Harold G. Koenig, M.D. - If you or a family member is struggling with a condition called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), then this little book is for you. As a psychiatrist and research scientist for more than 30 years, I’ve been struck by how many people with PTSD are not being treated correctly for this disorder (and why more than 50% of persons with PTSD continue to suffer disabling symptoms despite treatment).

For that reason, I’ve written this book to inform those affected by PTSD about the condition and the best whole person treatments available today. I describe here what PTSD is, the causes for it, and the factors that protect against it. I also examine a separate condition called moral injury that often accompanies PTSD and can interfere with PTSD recovery unless identified and treated at the same time. I then focus on the best evidence-based treatments for PTSD today -- psychological, medical / pharmacological, and especially, religious or spiritual. If you or a family member has PTSD or are experiencing the aftermath of severe trauma, you will know a lot more about this disabling condition and how to deal with it after reading this book. Hope and healing are just around the corner.  Available for $5 on Amazon.

Hospitality Witnessing

(Available from Wipf and Stock)

Hospitable WitnessingDrawing on her own experience of befriending a person suffering from a long-term mental health challenge, Priscilla Oh reflects on the meaning of care and friendship theologically. “Hospitable Witnessing is an unusual and necessary book which investigates the author’s experience of caring for her mentally ill friend. Readers will find themselves deeply engaged in the psychological pain and confusion of both the author and her friend. This honest and compassionate book will be of great value to families, church members, and professionals engaged in the care and treatment of mentally ill people.”  (Endorsement from Mary Fawcett). 

In the Shadow of God's Wings: Grace in the Midst of Depression

(Book: click here for more information | Study Guide: click here for more information)

In the Shadow of God's Wings: Grace in the Midst of DepressionIn taking us on her personal journey into depression, Gregg-Schroeder encourages a new understanding of the spiritual gifts that can come from depression. Autographed by Susan Gregg-Schroeder.

Written to accompany Gregg-Schroeder's book, In the Shadow of God's Wings: Group Study Guide provides small-group leaders with the material needed to facilitate a four-session study.

#INTHISTOGETHER: Ministry in Times of Crisis

(Available on Judson Press)

In a world still reeling from pandemic and in a nation confronting the persistence of racism and systemic injustice, the timely book #InThisTogether: Ministry in Times of Crisis edited by Curtis Ramsey-Lewis responds to questions about what we are learning during these crises about: God, our nation, ourselves, neighborliness and the church.

Learning to Walk in the Dark

(Available on Amazon)

Learning to Walk in the DarkBarbara Brown Taylor is an ordained Episcopal priest and a New York Times bestselling author.  In her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, Taylor reflects on finding strength and comfort in troubled times.  She has become increasingly uncomfortable with our tendency to associate all that is good with lightness and all that is evil and dangerous with darkness. Doesn’t God work in the nighttime as well?

In Learning to Walk in the Dark, Taylor asks us to put aside our fears and anxieties and to explore all that God has to teach us “in the dark.” She argues that we need to move away from our “solar spirituality” and ease our way into appreciating “lunar spirituality” (since, like the moon, our experience of the light waxes and wanes). Through darkness we find courage, we understand the world in new ways, and we feel God’s presence around us, guiding us through things seen and unseen. Often, it is while we are in the dark that we grow the most. 

The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention

(Available at Chalice Press)

Toward a Theology of Psychological DisorderIs your church prepared to save lives? Every year, millions of people engage in suicidal activity, yet the Church remains largely silent around mental health and suicide prevention. Pastor and suicide survivor Rachael Keefe shares her own personal story of lifelong depression, eating disorders, and suicidality to equip congregations to recognize and respond to those suffering silently in the pew. Memoir, theological reflection, and action guide combined, each chapter concludes with a "What Your Congregation Can Do Now" section to get you started building a community of abundant life for all.

Mental Health and the Church: A Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders and Other Common Mental Health Conditions

(Available on Amazon)

Mental Health and the Church: A Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders and Other Common Mental Health ConditionsThe church across North America has struggled to minister effectively with children, teens, and adults with common mental health conditions and their families. One reason for the lack of ministry is the absence of a widely accepted model for mental health outreach and inclusion.  In Mental Health and the Church: A Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, and Other Common Mental Health Conditions, Dr. Stephen Grcevich presents a simple and flexible model for mental health inclusion ministry for implementation by churches of all sizes, denominations, and organizational styles. The model is based upon recognition of seven barriers to church attendance and assimilation resulting from mental illness: stigma, anxiety, self-control, differences in social communication and sensory processing, social isolation and past experiences of church.

Military Moral Injury and Spiritual Care

(Available on Chalice Press)

Military Moral Injury and Spiritual CareHow do you care for veterans suffering from the moral trauma of war?
Military moral injury describes lifelong wounds of conscience afflicting military personnel who make life-and-death choices under duress or witness actions that later haunt them. With the suicide rate for veterans reaching 22 deaths per day, religious leaders, faith communities, and professional caregivers need resources and strategies for understanding and responding to the challenging ways military moral injury plagues veterans and their families.

In this collection of essays written by noted scholars and practitioners from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim perspectives, faith leaders and caregivers gain a depth of understanding and practical guidance for effective care with veterans and their families affected by combat moral trauma. Chapters provide spiritual care practices for supporting veterans, evidenced-based clinical strategies, and scholarly resources to guide responses to veterans’ experiences of loss and grief and strategies for effective interventions with veterans and their families. Military Moral Injury and Spiritual Care is a hopeful and practical resource for leaders in faith communities and chaplaincy settings. 

Mindfulness and Christian Spirituality: Making Space for God

(Available on The Thoughtful Christian)

Mindfulness and Christian SpiritualityThe spiritual practice of mindfulness has continued to gain popularity throughout the years. But what exactly does this practice offer to Christians? In Mindfulness and Christian Spirituality, Tim Stead explores how practicing mindfulness can help Christians better live out their faith. Stead explains what mindfulness is and what is beneficial about it. He also reflects on how it can impact what and how we believe and seeks to find how mindfulness enables our Christian faith to work for us. Mindfulness practices that are designed to help readers make space for God in their everyday lives are included.

The Minister's Guide to Psychological Disorders and Treatment, Second Edition

(Available on Amazon)

The Minister's Guide to Psychological Disorders and TreatmentsThe Minister’s Guide to Psychological Disorders and Treatments, 2nd ed, is written by W. Brad Johnson and William L. Johnson, widely renowned religious psychotherapists and psychotherapy researchers.  This book is described by the publisher as “a thorough yet succinct guide to everything a minister might need to know about the most common psychological disorders and the most useful mental-health treatments. Written in straightforward and accessible language, this is the minister’s one-stop guide to understanding common mental health problems, helping parishioners who struggle with them, and thinking strategically about whether to refer—and if so, to whom. This thoroughly updated edition is fully aligned with the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) and the latest evidence regarding evidence-based psychological treatments. The second edition also contains a new chapter on ministerial triage as well as additions to the DSM-V such as autism spectrum disorder and somatic symptom disorders. Written with deep empathy for the demands of contemporary pastoring, this guide is destined to become an indispensable reference work for busy clergy in all ministry roles and settings.” 

Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families

(Available from Fortress Press | Available on Amazon)

Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their FamiliesAs a pastoral caregiver, you may have met with someone in your congregation who persistently demonstrated a sad, morose mood…or someone who suffered from an addiction…or someone whose behavior seemed out of touch with reality. But you may not have understood what these attitudes and behaviors meant, and you may not have known what you ought to do in response. Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families brings together the voices of eighteen psychiatrists and pastoral theologians who collaborate to offer recent information about mental illness, to interpret mental illness in the light of faith, and to suggest effective ministerial responses. This book offers an integrated dialogue between psychiatrists and pastoral caregivers that can surface the most relevant information for readers. It also seeks to encourage conversation among people in congregations around the experiences of a faith community when someone is diagnosed with a mental illness. Specific illnesses addressed include depression, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, substance-use disorders, eating disorders, autism, acquired brain injury, and dementia. A concluding chapter discusses psychopharmacology. One unique element of this book is the extensive bibliography that appears at the end of each chapter. Many of the items in these bibliographies are web-based resources that feature free information and help.

Here is credible information on the realities of mental illness and how pastors and congregations can best respond. Robert H. Albers, William H. Meller, Steven D. Thurber, Editors. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012.

Moral Injury: Restoring Wounded Souls

(Available on Amazon)

Moral Injury: Restoring Wounded SoulsMoral Injury: Restoring Wounded Souls is a resource by Larry Graham Ph.D. for chaplains, pastors and spiritual caregivers designed to help people through the practices of soul care and moral guidance.  Dr. Graham has studying the traumatic impact of war, moral dissonance and injury in the life of individuals and communities.

If we can share our burdens, we can bear them. If we can bear them, we can change the circumstances that brought them about. In a world where anything goes, people have a hard time deciding what is right and what is wrong.  This book offers help for persons dealing with their feelings of guilt, shame, and responsibility when many people don’t believe in sin and have a limited or “flexible” moral framework.

Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression

(Available on Amazon)

Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and DepressionDr. Monica Coleman stands at the intersection of two worlds that don’t have a natural intersection: faith and science. She is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a professor at Claremont School of Theology, and suffers from mental illness. In her 2012 book, Not Alone, she wedded her belief system to her condition, going so far as saying she finds God in her pills. Not Alone is a 40-day devotional wrestling with some of the tough issues around faith and depression.  Weaving together theological reflection, medical research and personal experiences, Not Alone offers readers and opportunity to explore and reflect on their own understandings.  

The Pastoral Care of Depression: A Guidebook

(Available on Amazon)

The Pastoral Care of Depression: A GuidebookAs the frontline mental health workers in many communities, pastors need confidence, competence, and skill in handling people with emotional problems. As Author Binford W. Gilbert explains, “Depression is among the most treatable of major illnesses. It enters the realm of the spiritual and demands the best of the pastoral leader to guide, assist, and enhance the struggle for peace and soundness of mind and body.”  Written by Dr. Harold G. Koenig and Dr. Binford W. Gilbert, The Pastoral Care of Depression helps caregivers by overcoming the simplistic myths about depressive disorders and probing the real issues.  The book also addresses a minister’s own emotional, physical, mental, and relational health as well as the pastor’s privileged role that gives him/her unique abilities and opportunities to help others.

Protestant Christianity and Mental Health: Beliefs, Research and Applications
Judaism and Mental Health: Beliefs, Research and Applications
Hinduism and Mental Health: Beliefs, Research and Applications
Islam and Mental Health: Beliefs, Research and Applications
Catholic Christianity and Mental Health: Beliefs, Research and Applications

(Protestant Mental Health: Available on Amazon)
(Jewish Mental Health: Available on Amazon)
(Hindu Mental Health: Available on Amazon)
(Islam Mental Health: Available on Amazon)
(Catholic Mental Health: Available on Amazon)

Koenig Mental Health Books

Dr. Harold Koenig is a physician researcher who has spent over 30 years investigating the relationship between religion and health, and directs Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health.  He has authored books for mental health professionals, clergy, researchers, and laypersons interested in the relationship between religious involvement and mental health in different faith traditions.  Each book includes a brief history and concise description of beliefs, practices, and values is followed by a review of research and then by recommendations for practice based on research, clinical experience, and common sense. 

Resilience: Handling Anxiety in a Time of Crisis

Resilience: Handling Anxiety in a Time of CrisisIt is a challenging time for people who experience anxiety, and even people who usually don't experience it are finding their moods are getting the better of them. Anxiety hits hard and its symptoms are unmistakable, but sometimes in the rush and confusion of uncertainty we miss those symptoms until it is too late. When things seem to be coming undone, it is still possible to recognize the onset of anxiety and act to prevent the worst of it. George Hofmann takes a unique approach to developing better awareness of the body and how to head off disabling angst-filled episodes. 

Available on Amazon

Restoring the Healer: Spiritual Self-Care for Health Professionals

(Available at Templeton Press)

Restoring the Healer: Spiritual Self-Care for Health Care ProfessionalsBurn out. Two words that haunt those in high stress jobs, especially in the medical profession. Long hours and the literal life-and-death nature of the field creates expectations to not only be on call at all hours, but to be at one’s best, even at 3:00 AM after a twenty-hour shift. So much energy is devoted to the care of others that self-care is forgotten. Yet, more are noticing and research confirms that self-care is needed, not only for personal sanity but also for quality of work. Unwell medical professionals are not the best at treating others. And this self-care includes not just rest, food, and water, but a deeper care, one that tends the spiritual side as well.

From working as a hospital chaplain for over 18 years, Rev. Dorman recognizes the stresses that come to those who have made it their profession to heal others. Healers need healing too—and this guide is the first step.

Resurrecting the Person: Friendship and the Care of the People with Mental Health Problems

(Available at Amazon)

Resurrecting the Person: Friendship and the Care of the People with Mental Health ProblemsIn Resurrecting the Person, John Swinton argues that while mental illnesses are often biological and genetic in origin, the real handicap experienced by individuals is imposed by the types of reactions, values, and attitudes which are typical of contemporary western society. In other words, how a mental illness is experienced has much to do with how it is socially constructed. How will the church react to this suggestion? Swinton suggests that the key to the effective pastoral care of individuals with severe mental illness lies not only within the realms of psychiatry, therapy, and pharmacological intervention, but in the rehumanization which is borne within the relationship of friendship.

Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After War

(Available on Amazon)

Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After WarAlthough veterans make up only 7 percent of the U.S. population, they account for an alarming 20 percent of all suicides. And though treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder has undoubtedly alleviated suffering and allowed many service members returning from combat to transition to civilian life, the suicide rate for veterans under thirty has been increasing. Research by Veterans Administration health professionals and veterans’ own experiences now suggest an ancient but unaddressed wound of war may be a factor: moral injury. This deep-seated sense of transgression includes feelings of shame, grief, meaninglessness, and remorse from having violated core moral beliefs.

Soul Repair will help veterans, their families, members of their communities, and clergy understand the impact of war on the consciences of healthy people, support the recovery of moral conscience in society, and restore veterans to civilian life. When a society sends people off to war, it must accept responsibility for returning them home to peace.

Souls in the Hands of a Tender God

(Available on Amazon)

Souls in the Hands of a Tender GodSince 1987, Craig Rennebohm has ministered to people who are homeless and struggling with mental illness. In Souls in the Hands of a Tender God, he tells the evocative stories of those who desperately need psychiatric, psychological, and spiritual support, like Mary, who surrounds herself with bulging trash bags, and Jerry, barred from every shelter and meal program in Seattle. With gentleness and grace, solid knowledge and wisdom, Rennebohm reaches out to each of them, and their stories become parables that explore mental illness and the spiritual heart of care and recovery.

Sparks of Redemptive Grace - Seeking and Seeing God Amid a Loved One's Mental Illness

(Available on Amazon)

Sparks of Redemptive GraceMental illness impacts one out of five families each year, but few ae willing to expose the angish and tumult they face daily. Infomational, devotional, educational and inspirationa, Sparks of Redemptive Grace provides and authentic view of one family’s transparent hope in God’s unfailing love. For those whose loved one struggles with mental illness, Catherine Downing has shared her story with sincerity, humility and hope. For friends watching the chaos surrounding such struggles and wanting to understand, this book will open your eyes not only to the family’s needs, but also to the presence of God in their midst. For clergy and counselors looking for resources to support families in crisis, Sparks of Redemptive Grace offers comforting truths about God’s very real presence in times of trouble.

Spiritually Integrated and Psychology: Understanding and Addressing the Sacred

(Available on Amazon)

Spiritually Integrated PsychotherapyFrom a leading researcher and practitioner, this volume provides an innovative framework for understanding the role of spirituality in people's lives and its relevance to the work done in psychotherapy. It offers fresh, practical ideas for creating a spiritual dialogue with clients, assessing spirituality as a part of their problems and solutions, and helping them draw on spiritual resources in times of stress. Written from a nonsectarian perspective, the book encompasses both traditional and nontraditional forms of spirituality. It is grounded in current findings from psychotherapy research and the psychology of religion, and includes a wealth of evocative case material.

Strength for His People: A Ministry for Families of the Mentally Ill

(Available on Amazon)

Strength For His People: A Ministry for Families of the Mentally IllRev. Steven Waterhouse is one of the pioneers in educating clergy and congregations about mental illness.  He spoke at the NAMI national convention at the NAMI FaithNet networking session.  Waterhouse’s book explains mental illness from a Biblical worldview. It may serve as a guide for Christian counselors working with schizophrenia and related problems such as depression, why God allows suffering, mental illness vs. demon possession, and other topics helpful to families of faith.


Suffering and Spirituality: The Path to Illness Healing

(Available on Amazon)

Suffering and SpiritualityAfter twelve years, author Lorraine M. Wright, RN, PhD revisits her well-received book, Spirituality, Suffering, and Illness: Ideas for Healing (2005). With updated research, new illness narratives, this latest edition provides insights, guidance and advice for individuals/families experiencing illness suffering and for helping professionals seeking to soften their suffering. Spirituality and Suffering: The Path to Illness Healing also offers clinical practice ideas from a nonreligious approach of the crossroads of suffering, spirituality, and illness. A holistic model emphasizing suffering, spirituality, and illness beliefs, the Trinity Model, is also offered. Actual clinical examples are provided to show how to integrate, implement, and enhance health professionals spiritual care practices that soften suffering with patients and families experiencing serious illness, disability, or loss.

Suicide: Pastoral Responses

(Available on Amazon)

Suicide: Pastoral ResponsesThis book provides information and case examples on assessing suicide risk, dealing with suicidal behavioral and attempts, and responding to suicide deaths. It is most useful for faith community leaders who have training and experience in mental health counseling.

Survivor Care: What Religious Professionals Need to Know About Healing Trauma

(Available on Amazon)

Dr. Christy Sim works diligently to serve the needs of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. On any given Sunday morning, a pastor can look over the 100 members of the congregation and see 25 women and 14 men who have been crippled by domestic violence and trauma--no matter the race or socio-economic group. The church is more than a hospital for sinners, it is also an emergency room for those who have been sinned against. But emergency rooms are not the place for long-term care. The goal of care is not merely to help victims survive but move on to healing and wholeness.

They Don't Come with Instructions: Cries, Wisdom and Hope for Parenting Children with Developmental Challenges

(Available on Fortress Press)

They Don't Come with Instructions: Cries, Wisdom and Hope for Parenting Children with Developmental ChallengesIn They Don’t Come with Instructions, Hollie Holt-Woehl offers wise companionship for the journey with a developmentally challenged child.  It is part of a new pastoral care series at Fortress Press. The mother of a son with an autism diagnosis, Holt-Woehl recognizes that parenting is never easy. Challenges abound as parents help children grow up and find their place in the world. But she knows firsthand that adding a developmental challenge makes parenting far more complex.  Not only parents, but friends, family, and members of faith communities who seek to understand what it is like to live with a developmentally challenged child will appreciate Holt-Woehl’s down-to-earth and compassionate approach.

Toward a Theology of Psychological Disorder

(Available on Amazon)

Toward a Theology of Psychological DisorderHow do Christians in the twenty-first century understand psychological disorders? What does Scripture have to teach us about these conditions?  Marcia Webb examines attitudes about psychological disorder in the church today, and compares them to the scriptural testimony. She offers theological and psychological insights to help contemporary Christians integrate biblical perspectives with current scientific knowledge about mental illness.

Trauma Training Curriculum: Risking Connection

(Available on Amazon)

Risking ConnectionThis newest book in Sidran Institute’s Risking Connection® training curriculum series focuses on the healing role that clergy of all denominations can play in the lives of trauma survivors in their congregations. As many as one in four of the people you encounter may have been deeply wounded by life experiences. When clergy were surveyed, it was found that many were not confident in their ability to support trauma survivors in congregational settings. This book will help clergy understand the nature of psychological trauma, how it affects people, and how faith leaders can help. Because the book is addressed to spiritual leaders, particular attention is paid to the spiritual impact of trauma. This curriculum explains the effects of trauma focuses on the need for growth-promoting relationships explores the connection between trauma and spiritual distress recognizes the value of spirituality in recovery addresses the impact of trauma on the helper looks at how faith communities can promote healing.

Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission

(Available on Amazon)

Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's MissionMental 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 and ghosts, and simply pretend they don’t exist. They do exist, however—statistics suggest that one in four people suffer from some kind of mental illness. And then there are their friends and family members, who bear their own scars and anxious thoughts, and who see no safe place to talk about the impact of mental illness on their lives and their loved ones. Many of these people are sitting in churches week after week, suffering in stigmatized silence.

In Troubled Minds Amy Simpson, whose family knows the trauma and bewilderment of mental illness, reminds us that people with mental illness are our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Christ, and she shows us the path to loving them well and becoming a church that loves God with whole hearts and whole souls, with the strength we have and with minds that are whole as well as minds that are troubled.

Voices in the Rain: Meaning in Psychosis

(Available on Wipf & Stock)

Voices in the RainThis is the story of a woman’s struggle with mental illness through which she finds spiritual meaning and, ultimately, God.As a person who has experience severe psychiatric illness and landed on her feet, Marcia A. Murphy offers a unique first-person perspective. She is qualified to tell what such illness is like, its symptoms, stigmatization, hospitalizations, and daily life. Ms. Murphy takes you into her world and provides insights into the spiritual meaning of her illness. Her story gives desperately needed hope to others who are ill, their families, psychiatric professionals, as well as to those who know someone who is ill. Experts in the field from Harvard, Yale, Boston University, the University of Iowa and elsewhere have endorsed this memoir.

Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality

(Available on Amazon)

Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and HospitalityAs parents of a son with disabilities, Thomas E. Reynolds and his wife know what it's like to be misunderstood by a church community. In Vulnerable Communion, Reynolds draws upon that personal experience and a diverse body of literature to empower churches and individuals to foster deeper hospitality toward persons with disabilities.  Vulnerable Communion will be a useful resource for any student, theologian, church leader, or lay person seeking to discover the power of God revealed through weakness. 

Welcome Them Home Help Them Heal

(Available on Amazon)

Welcome Them Home Help Them HealNo two veterans have the same war experience, nor, upon returning from war do they face exactly the same reintegration challenges. Likewise, veterans heal and recover in their own ways and along their own timelines. Working together, compassionate, knowledgeable, and skilled caregivers, friends, and professionals can give veterans life-saving and life-giving care and support. Several chapters of the book are dedicated to helping faith communities minister effectively to returning soldiers by outlining the basic principles for outreach, providing guidelines for creating a welcoming and safe environment, and sharing ideas for activating the healing rituals of the church year.

When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends and Caregivers

(Available on Amazon)

When Someone You Love has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends and CaregiversThis book about love and mental health addresses the short-term, daily problems of living with a person with mental illness, as well as long-term planning and care.  The book addresses many topics including suggestions for handling the stress of the holidays.  

When Trauma Wounds: Pathways to Healing and Hope

(Available on Amazon)

When Trauma WoundsWhen trauma wounds, victims are thrown into unexpected darkness and experience unfamiliar symptoms. Some trauma survivors draw upon a lifelong faith in God; others find themselves in a wilderness devoid of spiritual grounding. The recovery stories in this book offer diverse pathways to faith and hope.  In When Trauma Wounds, psychologist Karen A. McClintock combines psychological approaches with faith resources to improve trauma recovery. Whether you are a trauma survivor, a caregiving pastor or church member, or friend to a survivor, this book will familiarize you with trauma symptoms and healing strategies.

When Your Family is Living with Mental Illness

(Available on

When Your Family Is Living With Mental IllnessMental illness is a disease like any other. Those dealing with mental illness, whether in their family or with a friend, can be confused or frustrated by a disease that is unpredictable and detrimental. With straight-forward spiritual guidance, this volume is perfect for anyone affected by mental illness. The author, Marcia Lund, uses practical suggestions for encouraging the reader to reconnect spiritually with God. This book can help sufferers resolve issues and find peace.

With Sighs Too Deep for Words: Grace and Depression

(Available on Amazon)

The stigma around mental illness in our culture has had a damaging effect on those who suffer from its grip. As a priest and bishop, Robert Hirschfeld has quietly and secretly been in treatment for depression for decades but now shares his own experience publicly. In this book, he offers short meditations, prayers, and suggestions of how one can follow and call upon Jesus for strength and peace during times of emotional upheaval.

Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness

(Available on Amazon)

Wrestling with our Inner AngelsWrestling with Our Inner Angels is Nancy Kehoe's compelling, intimate, and moving story of how she brought her background as a psychologist and a nun in the Religious of the Sacred Heart to bear in the groups she formed to explore the role of faith and spirituality in their treatment - and in their lives. Through fascinating stories of her own spiritual journey, she gives readers of all backgrounds and interests new insights into the inner lives of the mentally ill and new ways of thinking about the role of spirituality and faith in all our lives.

You Are My Beloved, Really?

(Available on Amazon)

You Are My Beloved, Really?Simple and easy to read, this book is intended for everyone, Christian and non-Christian, those who are religious or spiritual or neither. It explores how God feels about us. Are we his beloved, as some claim? Or is this just fantasy and wishful thinking. The author, Dr. Harold G. Koenig, is a psychiatrist and medical researcher.  He examines the evidence for God's love from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu perspectives based largely on the sacred scriptures from these traditions. Not a theologian, the author draws from his 30 years in clinical practice, his research, and his personal life in taking a practical approach to the subject. Those of any age with an open mind will find this book enlightening, if not inspiring.