Mental Health and Trauma
‘The claim that Jesus is the truth must be demonstrated in the Christian praxis of attending to human pain and meeting human needs’ (Lausanne Theology Working Group).
The Lausanne Movement defines holistic mission as ‘mission oriented towards the satisfaction of basic human needs, including the need of God, but also the need of food, love, housing, clothes, physical and mental health, and a sense of human dignity’.
But there is a gaping hole in the global church’s holistic response to human need: mental health. The very term often evokes responses of shame, denial, misunderstanding, judgment, or over-spiritualizing. Yet virtually every public health problem in the world has a psychosocial dimension. Poverty, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, refugees, interpersonal violence, at-risk children, and natural disasters all involve psychological suffering and often trauma, in addition to spiritual and physical distress.
Worldwide, one in five children/adolescents has a mental health problem.
Worldwide, depression is the leading cause of disability.
The Lausanne Mental Health and Trauma issue network seeks to mobilize Christian counselors and caregivers beyond strictly Western one-on-one counseling to address the world’s unprecedented suffering through innovative approaches that are biblical, holistic, systemic, indigenous, and collaborative.
Recent milestones include:
- 2009: Consultation on Care and Counsel as Mission held in Mexico City.
- 2010: The Cape Town 2010 Congress filled-to-capacity workshops and field trip to an HIV treatment center.
- 2011: The Cape Town Declaration on Care and Counsel as Mission, available for endorsement at www.careandcounselasmission.org.
- 2015: The first International Conference on Care and Counsel as Mission was held on 22-26 June 2015 in Bad Liebenzell, Germany.