Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission, By Amy Simpson
Troubled Minds
  • Length: 222 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: April 03, 2013
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4304
  • ISBN: 9780830843046

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Christianity Today Book Award Winner
Leadership Journal Book Award

Mental illness is the sort of thing we don't like to talk about. It doesn't reduce nicely to simple solutions and happy outcomes. So instead, too often we reduce people who are mentally ill to caricatures and ghosts, and simply pretend they don't exist. They do exist, however—statistics suggest that one in four people suffer from some kind of mental illness. And then there's their friends and family members, who bear their own scars and anxious thoughts, and who see no safe place to talk about the impact of mental illness on their lives and their loved ones. Many of these people are sitting in churches week after week, suffering in stigmatized silence.

In Troubled Minds Amy Simpson, whose family knows the trauma and bewilderment of mental illness, reminds us that people with mental illness are our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Christ, and she shows us the path to loving them well and becoming a church that loves God with whole hearts and whole souls, with the strength we have and with minds that are whole as well as minds that are troubled.

"Having written about my own family's experience with mental illness, I know what it must have cost for Amy Simpson to root her highly informative book in her family's heartbreaking, yet hopeful story. Because of stigma and ignorance, far too many of us live with the pain of mental illness in silence and without compassionate support from our Christian communities. Troubled Minds has the potential to help free us from that quiet loneliness and bring our churches into fuller communion with those who suffer. I highly recommend it."

Christine A. Scheller, news and religion editor, UrbanFaith

"Get ready! Amy Simpson takes you on a thoughtful, vulnerable and even painful journey through the complex landscape of mental illness. There is hope, but not until you go to the emotional and textured depths Troubled Minds provides."

John Ortberg, senior pastor, and Charley Scandlyn, healing minister, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church

"Drawing on her own journey and extensive research, Amy Simpson gives deep insight into the pain of mental illness for those affected and those who love them. She makes puzzling concepts understandable, and she faces head-on the troubling questions raised by mental illness for people of faith. While I was reading the book, a homeless woman struggling with mental illness came to our church. Because of what I'd read, I interacted with her more patiently and effectively. I count this a must-read for pastors and church leaders."

Karen Miller, LCSW, executive pastor, Church of the Resurrection, Wheaton, Illinois

"In Troubled Minds Amy Simpson opens the door into the hidden struggles of those caring for a mentally ill loved one. Between descriptions of her own real-life experiences she eloquently presents information that every Christian should have on how to recognize and appropriately respond to those living with mental illness. This book will prompt you (and your church) to action among a suffering people."

Matthew S. Stanford, professor of psychology and neuroscience, Baylor University, and author, Grace for the Afflicted

"With no shortage of brains or heart, Amy Simpson courageously explores the realities of mental illness in the twenty-first century. With mental illness on the rise, all church leaders would do well to read this theologically and psychologically compelling volume."

Linda Lake, clinical psychologist

"Simpson's sensitive recounting of her experience growing up with a schizophrenic parent forms the foundation for a book that belongs underlined and dog-eared on the shelves of every church leader. Troubled Minds is far more than an introduction to the issues surrounding mental illness and the church. It is a call to practical discipleship for everyone who seeks to follow the One who spent much of his ministry caring for the ill and those at the margins of society--often the same people."

Michelle Van Loon, "The 2014 Christianity Today Book Awards," Christianity Today, January/February 2014

"Amy Simpson gives deep insight into the pain of mental illness for those affected and those who love them. I count this a must-read for those of us in church leadership."

Karen Miller, "The 2014 Leadership Book Awards," Leadership Journal, Winter 2014

"In America, mental illness covers . . . a broad set of diagnoses. Simpson gives her readers a helpful, readable digest of mental illnesses. Well-researched and written in layman's terms without oversimplifying, she helps bring readers up to speed about the topic and the issues. . . . Her book is insightful, compassionate and timely. It is a must read for leaders of churches."

Michael R. Chancellor, The Baptist Standard, July 29, 2013

"Troubled Minds offers a thorough and well-researched overview of the realities of mental illness. But Simpson does not resort to professional jargon. The book's real strength lies in Simpson's empathy for those she interviewed, and the compassionate retelling of their stories. Readers will be far better prepared to care for those in their midst who struggle with mental illness. Finally, the book offers hope, both for those who are suffering and for church leaders awakened by Simpson's prophetic call for change. . . . Troubled Minds should prove to be an excellent resource for pastors and lay leaders who minister to the mentally ill."

Michael Mangis, Christianity Today, June 2013

"In more ways than one, [Simpson's] book shines a light in the darkness."

Jenny McDevitt, Interpretation, April 2016


Foreward by Marshall Shelley
1. A Family Story
2. Mental Illness Is Mainstream
3. Suffering People
4. Coping
5. Church Life
6. Ministry Life
7. Persistent Stigma
8. What Churches Can Do
9. What God Does
Resources for Ministry to People Affectd by Mental Illness
About the Author


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Amy Simpson

Amy Simpson is a speaker, editor, leadership coach, and author of the award-winning books Blessed Are the Unsatisfied, Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission, and Anxious.