Walking with Loved Ones Through Mental Health Challenges
“Teach me how to show Your Love to others.”
– Jesus Listens, February 10
“Sam had that ‘going away’ look in her eyes last night. I need to check on her today.”
The “going away” look was all too familiar to Deidra. She had walked with Sam through the ups and downs of mental health challenges for twenty years and was experiencing pain only found in the deep waters of friendship. She knew when Sam was’t regularly taking her medicine, her eyes looked disengaged and disinterested. It was a look Deidra recognized since the same look preceded two trips to the emergency room and one long stay in a mental health hospital.
Supporting Those With Mental Health Issues
Walking with friends and family who are navigating mental health challenges is a privilege often filled with immeasurable pain. The true test of friendship is on display when it requires hard conversations, ongoing emotional support, and heartache.
And no one represents the realities of faithful friendship better than Jesus.
In Mark 12:28–34, Jesus was asked to identify the most important commandment out of over 600 religious laws. His answer included two halves of a full command: love God and neighbors with full passion.
When referring to neighbors, He went as far as to say that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves, which means anyone created in the beautiful image of God (Genesis 1:27).
The Basis of All Friendships
In the case of Deidra and Sam, the intimacy of their decades-long friendship meant they would inevitably have moments to call each other out and help each other. Deidra knew Sam needed love in this moment, the same way she hoped Sam would return love in her time of need.
True, faithful friendship means that we embody the presence of Jesus to our friends, family, and the world around us. We choose to engage instead of choosing to ignore when our friends are hurting. We choose to comfort without judgment and care without obligation. It’s is a call to extend love and patience to those who are battling in a fight they never chose.
You Are Not Alone
If you are in this fight today and need someone to come alongside you, I encourage you to reach out to friends who have earned the right to be trusted with your vulnerability. You are not alone. You are never alone.
As you extend your heart and hands, I also pray you will find faithful friends who embody the presence of Jesus in the good times and the hard times. I pray you will be a friend to others the same way you have needed—or will need them to be for you.
As you fix your eyes on Jesus, I encourage you to look into His steady, present gaze. He is always our Faithful Friend, and out of His love for us, we are able to deeply love and care for others.
About the Author
Dr. David Docusen is the founder and director of The Neighborliness Center. He has spent twenty years investing into the kingdom of God as an author, speaker, pastor, and professor. His new book, Neighborliness: Love Like Jesus. Cross Dividing Lines. Transform Your Community. (Thomas Nelson) is available at www.neighborliness.com and all major retailers.