Quakers and Mental Health

As a social worker, Melody George feels passionate about what she calls “mental diversity” in faith communities. How are Quakers in a unique position to build this diversity?

Read Melody’s in-depth Friends Journal article on this topic:
Imagining a Trauma Informed Quaker Community

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Jon Watts

Jon Watts

Jon Watts launched and directed the QuakerSpeak project for its first 6 seasons. Keep up to date with Jon’s work at his website.

8 thoughts on “Quakers and Mental Health

  1. As a clinical psychologist, I really appreciated this video (although I love them all!). I think the concept of embracing “mental diversity” might be expanded to include “cognitive, emotional, and behavioral diversity.” There are so many varieties of experience, and people experience reality in so many different ways. We, the Society of Friends, can benefit from all the different ways that God (or different individuals’ higher powers) speak to them, and then to us.

  2. A good discussion starter. Having someone like Melody in a Meeting who is willing to help members grapple with this challenge must be very helpful. Some concrete examples for the rest of us would be instructive. Thanks for the thoughtful video.

  3. Don’t forget those living with dementia! Too many people with dementia are not taken to faith services, or to a restaurant, or anywhere else, because they may say odd or inappropriate things. Many people with dementia may indeed become anxious or overwhelmed in large or crowded settings, and if it is stressful or no fun for them, well, that is obviously a different matter. But many would feel happy, supported, and still part of the world if they were included in their churches, if they were taken to the county fair (even for just a half hour), if they could eat out once in a while. So what if they say funny things? Eighty percent of us either will care for someone with dementia or someday need such care ourselves. Time to stop treating it as something shameful or embarrassing.

  4. This video really spoke to me. My nephew lives in the Pensacola, FL area and I have recently been made aware that he is schizophrenic and in and out of jail. His father, my brother, seems to have abandoned helping him and I’m afraid to get involved – not having seen this young man since he was a child – he’s now about 30 years old. Any suggestions? Maybe I should reach out to a social worker in the Pensacola area for help. I can’t find a Friends Meeting in that part of Florida. I want to do more to help.

  5. Nice introduction, reminding us all of our professed commitment to seeing that of God in everyone. It might be even more helpful to have some meetings who have worked well with members who have mental illness struggles tell their stories. I am blessedly a member of a large meeting with many skilled social workers, psychologists and therapists who have supported a few Friends for many years and helped the meeting set some boundaries and feel compassion. What do small meetings without those skilled members do, I wonder?

  6. Hi – thank you for your message.
    I work as Mental Health Development Officer for The Retreat York Benevolent Fund – a small Quaker mental health charity in the UK. I describe my job as: “giving Friends the information and the inspiration to discern our response to issues around mental health.” Part of my role is highlighting how mental well-being is an issue for everyone; exploring how Meetings do/could respond when people need support and how much we are able to accept our different emotional and psychological experiences within a holistic inclusive community.
    I don’t know if it would be possible – but it might be really good to connect with Melody.

    In Friendship

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