In 1936 Christian chaplain Anton Boisen wrote that people with mental illnesses are often forgotten by the church. As we consider his words from the vantage point of the early part of the twenty-first century, how much of what he said still rings true? This question is important as more people are being diagnosed with mental illnesses than ever before in Canada. How can spiritual leaders in faith communities create space for people experiencing mental distress? What can community members do to support those in their faith community who have mental health concerns and who are often marginalized by both society and the church? In this course students will consider the history of mental health/madness in relation to Christian theology. Students will explore ways that injustice and oppression exist in the history of mental distress and consider how to address these issues within their contexts. We will question contemporary controversies in mental health research and policy such as the creation of the DSM and the pharmaceutical industry and explore how these relate to theology/spirituality. We will explore Christian responses to mental distress as well as first person narratives of people with lived experience of mental illness. Working together, we will develop outside of the box thinking regarding inventing and implementing ideas for ministry with/spiritual care for people with mental health concerns within a Canadian context.
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Hours per Week: