Episode 33 – Passing Peace in a Pandemic

Our response to the coronavirus is to create more episodes related to the intersection of faith and mental health. As we all seek out new ways to connect with each other, Tony and Eric will continue to pursue intimate, relevant conversation.

On this episode listen for:

How to prepare and not panic?

How do we take care of our mental health with additional stress related to coronavirus?

How do we reach out to others despite our physical isolation?

How do we worship when not going to a physical location?

3 Ways to Respond – Create, Consume, Connect

Tony reads a portion of this poem at the end of the podcast. It touches on the zeitgeist at this moment in world history.

Lockdown by Brother Richard Hendrick: 

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.


They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,


Episode 21 – Season 1 Finale!

Highlights from guest interviews and whimsical outtakes from the year bookend this episode.  Tony and Eric share their highs and lows from the season, as wells as hopes for the future of the podcast.

We thank all of our listeners for your support over the course of 2018.  Look for season 2 to start in March 2019.

As we have asked each of our guests, we also encourage you to consider, “What does healing mean to you?”

Episode 19 – Live from the Heartland

Tony and Eric were keynote speakers at the Heartland: Best Practices for Ministries Conference . This episode is a live recording from the event.  The focus is on development of the Faithful Friends Mental Health Ministry and the Revealing Voices podcast.

The keynote address was given on October 10, World Mental Health Day.

This is our first podcast release not in our standard 45 minute format.

Next Episode:

We will be back in studio E for Episode 20 with Dr. Susan Lockwood. Her book, “Kicked to the Curb”, focuses on youth in the criminal justice system. It will be released on December 4.

Episode 18 – Brandon “Beauty in the Wreckage” Andress

Author, Blogger, and Podcast host Brandon Andress joins us in studio.  Brandon’s new book, “Beauty in the Wreckage: Finding Peace in the Age of Outrage”, focuses on the redemption of suffering.  Listen for Brandon’s humility as he shares his personal stories of finding gratitude, healing, and community in some of life’s most difficult moments.

Brandon is also author of “Unearthed: How Discovering the Kingdom of God Will Transform the Church and Change the World” (2010) and the tongue-in-cheek “And Then The End Will Come” (2013).

Some topics include:

How do we transform our suffering?

How did the grief he experienced during writing impact the book?

How do spiritual disciplines lead to healing?

What does healing mean to you?


Video Introduction to “Beauty in the Wreckage”

“Beauty in the Wreckage: Finding Peace in the Age of Outrage” main website

Brandon Andress Personal Website

Brandon’s Outside The Walls Podcast

Next Episode:

Tony and Eric live recording at the Heartland 2018 Best Practices Conference

Episode 17- Bob Mills, President of

Want to join a consortium of 12,000 mental health advocates?  Listen to Bob Mills, Founder of Minds Renewed, discuss the mission of his ambitious organization.  The goal of the organization is to become the most valuable web platform for evaluating, curating, and communicating the best mental health information on the web.

The origins began in 2001 in a mental health ministry that Bob started at 1st Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Bob’s desire to honor God through serving the suffering grew out of his own experience with bouts of depression and bipolar disorder.

Some topics include:

What is the leadership structure of his mental health group ministry?

What has led to the growth of Minds Renewed?

What are some good models that he has identified through his networking?

What does healing mean to you?


Mental Health Grace Alliance – ministry that provides mental health resources for families and individuals suffering with mental health struggles

Fresh Hope for Mental Health – Pastor Brad Hoefs is a podcast host and developer of a mental health group ministry model

The Stability Network – Mental health advocacy organization that helps employers, communities, and the public recognize that people with mental health conditions are their friends, neighbors and colleagues who canand dolead successful lives.

Episode 13 – Robert Vore, Podcast Pioneer

Christianity and Mental Health’s intersection is the defining characteristic of Robert’s Vore’s podcast, CXMH. The podcast, started in January 2017, released its 45th episode this week. Robert had taken a “Podternity” leave while enjoying life as a first time father this year, but will be launching season 3 this fall.

On this episode, Robert discusses balancing the podcast with a new career in mental health counseling. He finished graduate school in July!

Some of the topics include:

What was the tipping point that led Robert to focus on mental health?

When did he decide to self disclose his own diagnosis? What impact did it have?

What vision does he have for his personal counseling career?

What is his perspective on the peer recovery movement?

What does healing mean to you?

Ways to reach Robert:

CXMH Podcast website

Robert Vote on Facebook

Robert Vore on Twitter

Donate to Robert through Patreon

  • Join Patreon to become a CXMH Facebook community member

Next Episode: Diana Starkey and Kim Grave join Tony and Eric in studio to discuss the Faithful Friends Mental Health Wellness ministry

Episode 12 – Eric Riddle on Service

Eric Riddle discusses his book, “Watershed: Service in the Wake of Disaster”. Learn what Watershed Philanthropy means to Eric.

We hope you enjoy a little “behind the scenes” listening in this unedited episode!

With summer coming to an end, we will be transitioning back into an interview format for Episode 13.  We will welcome Robert Vore, podcast host of the CXMH podcast. We are excited to learn more about Robert’s evolving ministry at the intersection of faith and mental health.

Episode 11- Tony Roberts on Writing

Tony Roberts discusses his book “Delight in Disorder”. We go deeper into Tony’s writing process and how writing has impacted his ministry.

It is summer and we decided to record 2 unedited sessions. Enjoy a few more “umms” and “ahhs” and perhaps a few awkward silences.

Next episode will focus on how Eric’s ministry has developed since a major flood impacted Columbus, IN in 2008.

Thank you to all our listeners.  We look forward to bringing you more interviews starting with episode 13!

A Faithful Response to Suicide

I am a man of faith who has attempted suicide. As such, I feel a unique responsibility to share my story. I want to stress that this is my own story. Not the story of Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Robin Williams. Or the countless others who don’t make the news. Still, maybe my story will contribute to a better understanding of how someone like me could choose death over life.

First, my own story. In high school, I was a star athlete and a stellar student. I gave a speech at my high school graduation and shared a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson called, “Richard Cory.” It begins:

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And ends…
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

I talked about faith as the “missing ingredient” to provide us the will to live. What I didn’t say is that in spite of my own faith, I wrestled inside with a profound sense of meaninglessness. All I seemed to be in the eyes of others was vanity. Sheer vanity.

I took this nagging sense of “phoniness” (as Holden Caulfield might put it) with me to college. Therapy was not a preferred course of treatment in the early 80s. Frat parties were. So instead of psychotropics, I imbibed copious amounts of beer. Whenever I began to feel the angst of meaninglessness, I would drink something to make me laugh at the foolishness of life or smoke something that unveiled the creative connectivity of the universe. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Fast forward to when I became a husband. A pastor. A father. I was suddenly thrust into roles with no script. I was terrified. I turned to a therapist. Then a psychiatrist. I started taking psychotropics which did neither good nor harm. At first. Then we found one that picked me up. And kept me up. Night and day. Day and night. Over 125 hours of brain-racing, vision-seeing, voice-hearing, roller coaster riding mania. Later, they would call this medication-induced psychosis.

Did the psych meds cause my mental illness? Doubtful. More likely, they set off an early warning signal that prompted me to get help.

In spite of this episode, my faith remained firm. I just had to re-exam it. The voice I was hearing was not God’s.  The inspiration I received was not divine revelation. If I felt ecstatic, it was not God’s favor. If I felt despair, it was not God’s judgement. All these things were part of my experience, but my core identity was that I was a child of God. A child who, like other children, had special blessings and unique challenges to make it through life.

By the grace of God, I remained in pastoral ministry for another dozen years after my psychotic episode. These were fruitful years and I found myself with the opportunity to advance in my ministerial career. “Climb the ecclesiastical ladder,” as some put it. I was thrilled by the prospect and poured myself wholeheartedly into the task. I sacrificed my family and my mental health in an effort to be the Savior I had lost sight of.

But I felt no despair. Maybe I buried it, like everything else, under a pile of papers on my desk or stacks of half-consumed coffee cups around the office.

One Saturday night, as I was walking home, I began to feel queasy. I thought I had the flu. So I called someone to preach for me the next day. I went to bed and suddenly heard a voice that said, “It’s okay.”

Had I been in my right mind, I may have found this reassuring. God telling me through an inner voice, “It is well with my soul.” Instead, I heard it as Divine permission to kill myself. So I tried. And it didn’t work. Thanks be to God.

It’s been over a decade now since my suicide attempt. I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on it, to feel its impact, to explore it, to pick it apart. I’ve spent countless hours in therapy coming to terms with it. I wrote a book on it (Delight in Disorder) in an effort to reach others who may be struggling with similar circumstances.

So, what have I learned? How does my own suicide attempt contribute to an understanding of the suicides we hear so much about, as well as the vast numbers we don’t? And, what can we do to best create a climate where suicide is less common than every 15 minutes? Here are three modest proposals:

  1. When someone seems to have it all together, they may be most at risk. Rather than idolize them, offer prayers for them. We often demand the most from people who have the least left to give.
  2. Fund independent research for pharmaceuticals that are affordable and effective. Major drug companies are not making better drugs; they are marketing more profitable ones.
  3. Integrate faith, therapy, and psychiatry so they function more as a three-cord strand rather than ropes pulling the most vulnerable apart.

These three things may seem beyond the reach of any one individual. And, they are. We will need foster a healing community that provides help for the hurting. At the same time, we can each do our part.

Before I started writing this, I shared a Facebook update that I would be addressing the subject as a person of faith who has attempted suicide. Immediately, I got a message from a friend, “Are you okay?”

This simple act took less than 5 minutes of her time. And it took place on what is often a poorly misused social media. The point is, however, she was alert to a potential risk and reached out.

The more we cultivate the care involved in connecting with the unconnected, the less likely they will be to disconnect.

{originally published in Delight on Disorder blog}

Episode 5 – Marie Henning, Super Human Resource

Marie Henning has spent her career as a Human Resources professional. In this episode, Marie takes us behind the doors of the office where crucial conversations occur, prayers are offered, and people in distress are uncommonly cared for.

Marie offers encouragement to those who face job stress and educates on the benefits offered by employers to support mental health.

Some of the questions include:

How do you support employees who are experiencing symptoms of mental illness?

Has disclosure of mental health diagnoses increased since the beginning of your career?

How have you seen stigma impact an employee’s career?

What opportunities have you had to share faith and prayer?

What does healing mean to you?

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) info:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) info: