Jun 28

Book Review: Troubled Minds

I love Facebook for as many reasons as I dislike it.  I cannot stand that people (including myself sometimes) do not consider what they write before they click “post.”  I get annoyed when we are drawn in to conversations on Facebook and say things that we would never say in person. 

Our personalities are amplified on Facebook.

If the negative aspects of our personalities are amplified on Facebook, it makes sense that our positive aspects are amplified as well.  One personality type that I especially appreciate on Facebook is the “sharer.”  This is the person who sees something great and wants to let everyone know about it. Others “share” things as well, but the “sharer” tends to have credibility to those shares – perhaps the person has read the book, knows the author, or has tried the product.

A book title  “share” came across my Facebook wall recently that motivated me to purchase a book – ok…three books – immediately.  I had planned to buy the two books by Caryn at some point anyway, but buying three books on Amazon meant free shipping.  And – let’s face it – I needed summer reading just in case I actually take my vacation time.

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Much like my experience with Sober Mercies by Heather Kopp (read my review by clicking here – trust me, you will love the title of the post!), Troubled Minds by Amy Simpson has consumed most of my recent free time (and has even caused me to put off some other things that were supposed to get done).  It is an absolutely compelling read.

Compelling reads tend to have similar elements such as personal stories, important factual information, or calls to action.  These types of books draw us in because of their very nature.  Amy Simpson brings all of these to the table.  It is not or but rather and.

Personal Story: Amy weaves her own family’s story throughout the book. From page one, readers know that the author has first-hand experience with mental illness as the daughter of a schizophrenic. This connection throughout the book is so important.  Amy does a great job of including this story without pushing the reader to feel pity for her and her family.  She shares some difficult experiences, and we feel for her – but she only takes the story so far as to remind readers that she knows what mental illness is, what it does, and how the church could do better to help those who suffer.  Excellent.

Factual Information:  Amy provides a useful tool in Chapter 2 with an overview of the most prevalent mental illness categories.  This allows the reader to become a lay person in this area with some understanding of the broad categories and how a mental illness may show its face.  What is does not do is prepare anyone to become a therapist!  But that is not Amy’s point, and she makes that quite clear.  Amy also shares statistical information about churches, pastors, and mental illness.  Excellent.

Action Points for Churches: Each chapter has suggestions for churches as well as stories of current churches who are ministering to those suffering from or supporting others with mental illness.  The main point of each item is that churches should do something to reduce the stigma around mental illness.  Excellent.

I have one wish in this book.

While Amy does a great job of mentioning pastors who suffer themselves, I wish she had devoted an entire chapter to this.  She primarily mentions pastors with mental illness as those who tend to be more aware of mental illness, who try to minister to others, and who have a better understanding of the need to reduce stigma.  What she does not do is suggest to congregations how they can minister to or better understand their pastors (or their family members) who suffer from mental illness.  This is not a huge drawback to the book; however, it was a missed opportunity that I think is a huge need.

I recommend this book to just about anyone who breathes.  Buy it. Read it. Share it.

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