Several podcasts touch on mental health. Others bring up topics of faith. None of these offer a faith-based, peer-led perspectives we need and believe others need to maintain wellness. Revealing Voices (RV) will dig deep and share honest stories of ways faith and mental healthcare can work together to promote healing. RV also offers humor. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Like the Apostle Paul on lithium or Sigmund Freund at a week-end revival.
Who We Are
We are two men with vibrant faith who live with bipolar disorder.
Eric earned a B.A. in History and an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Indiana University. His life took an unexpected turn in 2008 when a devastating flood led him to become a community case manager. After the experience, he wrote a book called Watershed: Service in the Wake of Disaster. In preparation for the 10-year anniversary of flood recovery, Eric has been asked to co-lead the “Pleasant Grove Project” to turn a flood plain into fertiled land for building community. Eric supports mental health peer recovery as a member of the Stability Network, and Vice-President of the local chapter of National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). He co-founded and now co-leads (with Tony) the weekly faith-based, peer led mental health and ministry group, “Faithful Friends”.
Tony received a B.A. in English & theology from Hanover College and a Master’s of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. He served 20 years in pastoral ministry, specializing in addiction and substance abuse recovery and ministry with those who have mental illness. He has published work in a number of periodicals, including Christianity Today (CT) Pastors, Presbyterians Today, Upper Room, These Days, devozine, and Stand Firm. His published spiritual memoir: Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission led him to become a keynote speaker at the first “Shattering Stigma with Stories,” a mental health and faith conference in Lake Oswego, OR. He is now at work on his second publication, sharing the story of his life in faith both inside and outside of psychiatric hospitals. His current work can be found on Delight in Disorder.
What We Will Do
Many people with mental illness feel alienated from faith communities. Many faith communities fail to understand the value of mental health care. We have lived in both worlds and found both to promote healing. Prayer and pills. Worship and therapy. Bible study and support groups. Revealing Voices will build a community where people listen to and dialogue with others who have been impacted by mental illness and struggle with faith. We don’t pretend to have the answer, but we will raise your questions and share your prayers.
What You Can Do
Studies show that at least 20% of the US population struggles with a mental health issue. Research also suggests that very few pastors and churches are equipped to address the needs of persons with mental illness. You can share hope with people who have troubled minds. You can also support this work within your community to cultivate compassion towards those with mental illness.
What We Need
We need your financial support for the equipment needed to produce a quality podcast, including:
* MacBook Pro
* (2) Share SM-58 microphones
* Cables, stands, accessories
* (2) Headsets
* Equipment for broadcasting phone calls
* Marketing to make a greater impact in a broader area.
* A portion of donations exceeding our goal will go to NAMI-Faith Net.
The Benefits You Receive
We want to express our gratitude for your support, so we are offering a wide variety of bonuses, from a “Making of Revealing Voices” audio recording to signed copies of Delight in Disorder and Watershed. Up to an opportunity to dialogue with us on the show.
The Difference You Can Make
Many of us have the desire to be heard. We want someone who gets what we’re going through. 1 out of 5 persons wrestles with mental health issues yet it is not a topic frequently talked about in faith communities. Revealing Voices will raise hard questions and share honest prayers. Your gift helps make this possible.
Risks & Challenges
As important as it is to share our struggles with mental health, prevailing stigma discourages us from doing so. People both within and beyond faith communities often see it as an excuse rather than an explanation; a lack of faith instead of a chemical reaction; a crime, not an illness.
Eric and I are uniquely positioned to tackle this stigma head-on. We have both revealed our diagnoses to friends, family, co-workers, and the community at large. At times our methods of doing this have lacked good judgement, but we have learned even from these trials. We understand the need for wise discretion for when and how you talk about mental health issues.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are not in a position to make a financial gift at this time, we get it. There are other valued ways you can support our mission:
* Pray. Prayer is not a magical panacea to manipulate giving. Yet, through prayer, needs are met.
* Share. Tell others about our project. We’d be delighted if you’d put it on your social media.
In her memoir An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, writes this:
“I am tired of hiding, tired of misspent and knotted energies, tired of the hypocrisy, and tired of acting as though I have something to hide.”
Together, let’s reveal our voices. Raise unanswered questions. Share unanswered prayers.