From the Author, Dawn Holmes:
I'm writing this book on mental illness in the Church and would love your help getting it to print.
Statistics report that an incredible 1 in 4 people will experience mental illness every year, so a quarter of our church congregations could well be suffering or be living with those who do.
Mental health is a subject I've been interested in for a while, and recently I have found a growing sense of being a part of ‘getting the message out there’ beyond my own sphere of influence. There is a need to address the stigma still associated with mental illness, and to provide understanding of the subject, as well as hearing from people’s personal experiences (both good and bad).
The 1 in 4 statistic applies equally to Christians. I believe looking at this subject face on will better equip churches in their understanding of mental health and how to support people. Mental health issues can affect all of us and Christians can feel an added level of shame when suffering from a mental illness.
So I started by asking, ‘How can we better understand and support the one in four?’ As I began to talk to people, I found that many Christians had been feeling shame as a sufferer of a mental illness, and often it remained a hidden secret from their church family.
So I decided to set up an anonymous online survey to hear more stories from people I didn’t know. I asked, ‘If you have personal experience of mental health issues, or have family or friends who have, did you feel you could share your/their struggle with your church leaders and other Christians, or did you feel that as a Christian there's a stigma to having a mental illness?’
Some of the stories of people’s experiences were hard to hear, and their situation often led to increased levels of isolation.
But some experiences spoke of the love and compassion shown, and were encouraging to read.
I was overwhelmed by the response and realised this survey wasn’t enough. The results highlighted the need to explore this issue more widely. So I started to collate the survey responses and people's personal experiences, which led to me writing this book.
I felt I had taken the project as far as I could, when I met Karen Todd & Gary Todd at Simplicate, and realised that their experience on similar projects was the next part of the equation.
This project has been on my mind for a while but this past year I have been dedicated to researching and writing the book - and I would love you to join me on this final stage of the journey to help make it a reality. I want to make this book a resource that will help the church to gain a better understanding of mental health issues and to support those with a mental illness to feel heard and not alone.
Thank you for your help!
About the Author: Dawn Holmes
Dawn lives in Somerset with her husband, Colin, and they have five grown-up children, some of whom have flown the nest, and some who keep flying back! They have been part of a Newfrontiers church for many years and serve in a variety of ways. Dawn enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading and dabbling in papercrafts. Her interest in mental health has grown as increasing numbers of people spoke with her regarding the Church's response, prompting her to write this book.
About the Co-Author: Karen Todd
Karen is an author, speaker and trainer with many years experience in mentoring. Through her company, Simplicate, Karen helps clients build courses, resources and training in a variety of sectors, including Early Years, substance misuse, mental health and family support, as well as writing resources for parenting, marriage preparation and discipleship at gettingreal.co.uk. She is passionate about creating people-focused tools that are both effective and easy to use. Having worked with parents for many years, Karen continues to support families through her parenting website karentodd.family. She lives in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and three daughters.
"I was thrilled when Dawn approached me to help her with this book. Gary & I have worked on several mental health projects and we're excited to play a role in equipping churches, as they lovingly support people facing mental health issues within church communities." - Karen Todd
There are a range of rewards for backers, centred around copies of the book. For convenience, here is a list of them:
If any backers have further ideas about what rewards or stretch goals you would like to see, let us know in the Comments section of the campaign and we will consider them. We want your input.
What's in this book?
'Freed From Shame' has been written to shed light on the reality of mental illness in the Church, not to condemn people, leaders or churches but, instead, to offer insight, education and practical advice on how to tackle this challenging subject. The book is written with user-friendly language, making it accessible to all.
There are three sections in the book:
- Understanding mental health - A better awareness of mental health and what happens when it goes wrong, including specific conditions and what it's like to live life in their shadow.
- Being understood - Real life stories that share experiences, help others to feel they're not alone, and bring some reality to the everyday challenges that mental illness brings.
- Equipping the Church - Insight into practical approaches to remove stigma surrounding mental illness in the Church, and how to create a supportive environment.
Who should read this book?
'Freed From Shame' is a book for anyone interested in mental health issues in the Church. In particular, this book will help the following people:
- Church leaders who wish to gain a better understanding of specific mental illness and an awareness of what it is like for those living with mental health issues, to better provide pastoral support,
- People with mental illness who want to be understood and not feel alone, and
- Friends, relatives and others supporting those with mental illness.
Social Media and email
We have accounts on Facebook & Twitter. Please help us by sharing this campaign on these platforms, any other social media platforms you are on, and also by email and word of mouth. We need you to support us socially as well as financially, so please spread the word as much as possible to all who will listen. Thanks so much for supporting the team to make this book.
The link to share is:
There's still time to fill in a survey and play a part in the content of this book. If you have experience of mental illness, complete the survey here.
We're a long way down the road with creating this book. Dawn has done an amazing job getting it this far and we are in the final stages of editorial, prior to print. We're looking to publish the book at the end of January 2018. Our plan is for Kickstarter backers to get their copies prior to an official book launch (we've stated a February delivery as a contingency).
Your pledges will be used to fund the production and initial print run of the book, making this all possible.
Who will help make this happen?
Simplicate is a Digital Agency, specialising in concept development and full project management. They have published their own products, assisted self-publishing authors, and are well placed to deliver 'Freed From Shame' quickly and to a very high standard.
Other books in their portfolio include:
- 'The Little Book of Eve' by Shirley Higham
- 'Free From Fear' by Colin Bennett, Lynn Chisadza & Karen Todd
- 'Equipped' by Chris Kilby
Thank you in advance
As a team, we're excited to bring this book to life, and looking forward to including you on the journey as part of the team that made it happen.
Thanks so much for your support.
Risks and challenges
This is the second Kickstarter Simplicate has run - the first campaign was delivered on time and with good communication throughout. This was reinforced by lots of happy and enthusiastic backers.
We have created many high quality books and music albums, and this is a fairly straightforward project for us, so we are confident we can deliver what we promise by the date we promise.
We have been thorough to secure permissions for all stories, and all content is approved. Dawn & Karen, the authors, have nearly completed the book content as it enters final editorial, and we have left contingency for any unforeseen factors. We are even hoping we might be able to fulfil the rewards sooner than we state.
We pride ourselves on doing the best we can for our customers and we'd love to have you on the journey with us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)