August 2, 2008 Matthew

Crisis intervention

As I have been flipping through page after page of many different kinds of churches I have i’ve taken note of some of the types of ministries that they engage in or focus on. A few have caught my eye that have devoted much of the ministry energy to such things as crisis intervention, disaster relief, and the like.

It occurred to me that such a ministry as crisis intervention is for sure a “culturally relevant” ministry. Given the American age of mass consumerism, and the subsequent mass loss of identity, people in our land are more than ever walking and tripping up on flaky ground. It makes a lot of sense for church to have this kind of ministry.

Some facts for thought:

  • Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. This includes major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
  • 15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression.
  • 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
  • 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.
  • Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020 — and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease.
  • Short-term (exogenous) depression can be caused by loss or extreme trauma.
  • Chronic or life-long (endogenous) depression is caused by trauma in childhood which includes: emotional, physical or sexual abuse; yelling or threats of abuse; neglect (even two parents working); criticism; inappropriate or unclear expectations; maternal separation; conflict in the family; divorce; family addiction; violence in the family, neighborhood or TV; racism and poverty
  • Trauma prevents certain parts of the brain (hippocampus and frontal lobe, where decisions are made) from developing properly.
  • Good relationships: studies show that relationships with partners, careers, teachers, co-workers and a supportive social network results in physical and emotional healing, happiness and life satisfaction, and prevents isolation and loneliness, major factors in depressive illness.
  • Studies are increasingly linking more illnesses to depression, including: osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer, eye disease and back pain.

(From Uplift Program)

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